When your New Year’s Resolutions fade, you might want to try this.

Many of us make New Year resolutions and by mid-January they have gone by the wayside. For this reason, I am only just setting my goals for 2018 and I thought I’d share with you how I do this. A word of caution, this process takes a little time and thought and is only for those who are serious about improving themselves and their life. If you’re chasing a quick fix, this is not for you and you can scroll on by without a second glance.

So, if you’re ready to commit to one goal, or several, to move you closer to where you want to be, in leaps and bounds or small steady steps, then let’s begin…

It’s OK if you take several days and revisit and readjust your goals, just do it and make them specific, measurable and achievable. It’s OK to dream big, however don’t set yourself up to fail. These are YOUR goals, no one else’s. Also be mindful of how much energy you truly have to devote to attaining your goal, and if it’s a dream goal, break it down and decide to achieve a milestone towards that dream.

Never compare your goals to someone else’s. What seems a little victory to one person is a major triumph for another. Again, these are YOUR goals. Not your friend’s, not your partner’s, or your children’s. So let’s get clear, THESE ARE YOUR GOALS and it’s just as acceptable if your goal is to have 10 minutes to yourself every day to do whatever your heart desires or if your goal is to run a half marathon in 6 months.

To start, I get a piece of paper and down the left-hand side list the areas of my life I want to improve such as: physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, finances/career/study, lifestyle, relationships. You can also add a category for other areas if needed. Then across the top of the page I make columns entitled, Where I am, Where I want to be, and How will I get there. Next all the details are filled in and when I’m done, I prioritise by assigning a number, listing the most urgent goal as number 1 and so on.

Here’s an example worked through with a client whose priority was a physical health goal: ‘Where I am now:’ Recovering from a back injury, overweight, with no core strength; ‘Where I want to be:’ Pain free, flexible, toned and strong; and ‘How will I get there:’ Yoga. (This client had a medical clearance.)

Next an Action Sheet is completed. This is designed to keep you honest with yourself and to create strategies for all the excuses you have which prevent you reaching your goal. Write down where you want to be and then the action(s) required to get there. List exactly what you will do and how you will do it. For example, keeping with the above goal, what sort of yoga will you do and how will you practice eg at home with a DVD or go to a class. Then add specifics such as when and how often you will undertake your action. Will it be every morning upon rising or Tuesday and Thursday evening classes.

Then outline where your activity will take place, and spend some time writing a positive statement as to why you want to achieve this goal. In the above example it could be something like “to live a full, vibrant, long life, with a toned core, strength and flexibility, ensuring my pain free status into the future”.

Give your goal a time-frame such as ongoing lifelong goal or until my core strength allows me to upgrade to a broader variety of exercises. Be sure then to list your reminders to keep yourself on track, such as exercise clothing laid out the previous evening, yoga mat will be kept on my breakfast chair, morning alarm will be set to ensure sufficient time, etc.

Make sure you’ve researched the tools you require in pursuit of your goal too and write them down. Then list all of the contacts who will assist you with your action, in this case it could be a yoga instructor, a yoga buddy, etc.

And there you have it. All you need do now is START by putting your plan into action!

Remember, always set goals that are within your capabilities and that take into account your limitations. Tailoring your expectations to your personal situation helps you set achievable goals. Also, timing is crucial, for example embarking on a weight loss program when you’re about to go on a holiday cruise is just plain crazy.

You should also learn to enjoy the process of achieving your goal, such as a coffee or juice with a yoga buddy after a class, rather than being solely results driven. This is where you will change those daily behaviours and habits. Have a contingency plan for any setbacks too, we all experience them, but getting yourself back on the bike is proof you are making positive behavioural changes.

Lastly be willing to review and change your goals. If you started small, you may be ready for greater challenges, or you might just need to adjust your goals to better fit your new lifestyle!

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