2015 is here, and boy has 2014 flashed past or what? The new year brings with itself hopes, promises, fresh starts, new opportunities and resolutions. Resolutions are great for a couple of reasons, one, they give you something to look forward to and work towards, and two, they have the potential to keep you engaged. Now, this is true only if we consistently work towards them. Interestingly, research shows that only 8% of the resolutions are achieved according to work done at university of Scranton, and published in the journal of Clinical Psychology. A staggering 92% of the resolutions are not fulfilled, so clearly something is going wrong. Let’s look at some common resolutions.
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
Evidently, what most people want is a fitter, healthier version of themselves. It is not just the body that reaps the benefits of keeping fit, but also the mind. It is rightly said, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there is a cheat sheet to refer that helps us stick to our healthy resolutions?
Goal setting: Small is big, Less is more
Whatever your big resolution is, break it down into mini chunks. Yes, we have heard this so many times, but how can we put it to practice? Let’s say your resolution is to lose weight in the new year. Identify what a practical weight loss goal would be by either consulting a trainer or a medical professional. For most people a weight loss goal of 10% of your total weight is a good start. What that means is, if you are 90kg then a 9kg weight loss goal is a feasible one. The next step is to breakdown your goal into small achievable “Mini” goals. A mini goal for weight loss can be losing 1-2 kg a month. Setting small intermediate goals increases the chances of achieving your big resolution by quite a lot.
Focus on the Process
After you have broken down your resolution/goal into small achievable mini chunks the next step is to identify process measures to achieve those goals. Continuing on our weight loss example, what would be a good process measure? It can possibly be “Eating lots of salad before meals” or “Exercising 30 minutes a day”. You would be surprised to find out that focusing on the process instead of the outcome i.e. Weight loss will help you achieve your desired outcome quicker than you would imagine. Give it a try and you will pleasantly surprise yourself. Moreover, it also makes the journey more enjoyable. Isn’t that what counts?
Every time you achieve your mini goal reward yourself with something relevant. Let’s just say you achieved your mini goal of weight loss for the month, and lost 1.5 kg. It’s time for a reward and that can be a running shoe, or an exercising gear of some sort. Rewards are great for motivation if introduced at the right time and are relevant.
Keep a Record
There is a saying, “what gets measured, gets done”. Maintain a record of your progress and reevaluate by going thorough your notes every week. This will not only keep you motivated but also help you visualize your progress. You can also chart your progress as shown in the figure below.
Keeping your resolutions can be a tough fish to catch. However, if you keep these things in mind and take small, little, tiny steps towards your goals, you can definitely bell the cat. Have a great new year filled with hopes, dreams and goals.