What is your 2018 MISSION?!
As we are about 2 weeks into 2018, I wanted to touch a bit on New Year’s Resolutions. During the first few weeks of the New Year, the gyms are packed, yoga studios filled up, and streets filled with walkers, joggers & runners! BUT, 2 weeks from now, I estimate ~half of all New Year’s Resolutioners will have abandoned their extravagant, impossible-to-attain, far-fetched Resolutions. What Gives?! Well, the specificity and types of goals we set out for ourselves play a large role & are huge determinants on if we have what it takes to reach our goals. Below are 5 techniques which if utilized when making New Year’s Resolutions, will help ensure you remain, consistent, on point, and motivated during this exciting, yet volatile time of the year!
- Lapse vs. Relapse! Understand the difference between a lapse and a relapse. A Lapse, by definition, is a temporary misstep or departure from a plan to change behavior. Conversely, a Relapse, is a full-blown change back into old problematic patterns of behavior. The journey towards reaching a truly fulfilling goal is not and will not be easy for any of us! There will be bumps along the way, so we must be willing to mess up, to lapse, to forgive ourselves, and to continue on the journey towards success! Keep in mind a lapse is NEVER a relapse, unless you let it become one!
- Be Specific! You want to be sure you make your goal as specific as possible. Setting a long-term goal, and breaking up that long-term goal into several short-term goals is highly recommended. Rather than having a goal of “losing 20 pounds”, change that to “lose 2 pounds per week over the next 10 weeks by participating in 45 minutes of cardio 4x per week”. The more specific and measurable your goal is, the more likely you are to attain and sustain it! Rather than identifying an Outcome Goal, we must identify HOW you are going achieve the goal by implementing Process Goals as mentioned above. Unsure of how to make your goal more specific? Let’s chat!
- Do Not Set Too Many Goals Too Soon! Many of us tend to take on too many goals at once. We might want to lose 15 pounds, tone our legs, be a better parent, get promoted at work, be more sociable around others, go outside more, stop eating fast food, decrease caffeine intake, spend less time on social media, stop biting our nails, and save the world by midnight; however when too many goals are set at once, they are all almost always abandoned! This can lead to frustration, lowered self-confidence and less motivation. We must not let our desire to improve make us overzealous and unrealistic. We are much more likely to be successful when we focus on a 1 or 2 realistic, yet challenging goals at a time.
- Self-Monitor! Self-monitoring is the systematic observation of target behaviors (i.e. eating and moving for weight management). As you take the proper steps towards meeting your goal (working out today, avoiding that sweet right before bed), take time to acknowledge, pat yourself on the back, and record these small wins. Rather than focusing on the goliath long-term goal in front of us, if we can learn to appreciate the small wins during each of our individual journeys towards accomplishing said goal, long-term success becomes much more likely!
- Visualization! This is one of my all-time favorite techniques! Whether it be the process (i.e. studying for the CPA Exam) or outcome (i.e. passing the CPA exam) of reaching your goal, visualize these successes and be as specific and vivid as possible! The visualization/image should most closely approximate the actual motor preparation and execution by mimicking the actual movement being performed or goal being achieved (i.e. studying or checking your passing scores online)! The visualization should also take place in an environment that is similar, if not identical to the actual physical environment (if your goal is to workout more, then the visual should be of you working out, with perfect form, at the gym you belong to). Focus on the same feelings, thoughts, and actions as would arise during actual execution of the task (i.e. how it will feel to pass that CPA exam)! Imagine the emotional state felt when actually performing the process or achieving your goal (i.e. you passed the exam!)
Utilizing the techniques above are sure to move you in the right direction towards accomplishing your New Year’s Resolutions / Goals!