How to set goals you’ll actually keep

What is it you want to change this year? Do your goals include losing a little weight, increasing your chances at finding love, or getting a new job?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting change. This is something that separates humans from all other species. We are always on the path of improvement and striving for the next target. However, despite our best efforts we all know hopes and dreams of change often fail. The most obvious example is the New Year’s resolution. How often have you made a resolution, only to find it falling by the wayside by the end of January? This is why fitness centres are packed full of people during the first week of the new year but are back to their usual membership levels in February.

Despite so many of us making a resolution each year, statistics show only a fraction of people actually stick to that January 1 resolve. But don’t throw in the towel just yet because there is something you can do about it. When you’re armed with the right information, you absolutely can reach your destination.

The Four-Step Guide

Forget about January 1

The first day of a new year feels fresh and exciting. After all, who knows where the next 52 weeks will take you? But at O’Neill Kinesiology College, we recommend taking the pressure off this one particular day. It is usually a time of year when routine is non-existent, the social calendar is full, and holidays are in full swing. This isn’t the ideal time to make a lasting change. Instead, use the remainder of January – or whatever month you’re currently in – to start making a plan.

Don’t try and make multiple changes at once

It might feel good to quit smoking and drinking, and start eating more broccoli all at once. But in reality, this is actually quite stressful, both mentally and physically. Decide what the most pressing matter is and focus on that. There is no-one on this planet who can change their entire life in an instance, so be careful of falling into this unrealistic mode of thinking.

Set simple, specific goals

If you have a weight loss goal, instead of aiming for the whole 20kg, set your sights on just 5kg. Or, if you want to get fitter, start off walking 20 minutes every morning rather than joining a gym on a whim and promising yourself you’ll go six days a week (be honest – will that really happen?). It might seem like you’re setting the bar very low, but if you have frequent small wins, you will feel accomplished and motivated, and the end goal won’t feel so out of reach.

Make your goals both simple and specific; not “I want to lose weight” but “I want to lose 20kg by my birthday and I will do this by walking every day and swapping my morning muffin and large latte for a piece of fruit and small latte.”

Be accountable

Seeing your goals in writing or voicing them to someone else is invaluable. You’ll be more committed than if you kept things to yourself, tucked away in your head. Could you enlist an exercise buddy, or can you get an activity tracker such as a Fitbit and sign up to weekend activity challenges with other Fitbit owners? Also try writing down your goals and reading them over each morning. You could make some small alterations every day, too. For instance, today is the day you will drink more water, and tomorrow you will fill up on five serves of vegetables. This will help keep your goals fresh.

To find out more about our goal-setting seminars, get in contact. Kinesiology can help you address your underlying barriers and help you to work through stress and demotivation. Call us on (08) 9330 7443.

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