e all do it at this time of year… we mentally and (often) physically switch off at the end of the calendar year and put our faith in the notion “new year, new me.” The trouble is, that come February you’ve already fallen back into the same bad habits that had you establishing these new year’s resolutions in the first place.
The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to refocus on what’s truly important in our lives BUT I’m definitely not an advocate of the good old “New Year’s Resolution” method. Why?
Only 8% of those who set resolutions are actually likely to achieve them*.
So, instead of disappointing yourself with unrealistic goals, sit down for 5 minutes today and use my 5 steps to create achievable goals for a successful 2019.
If you want to achieve a set of goals in 2019, you need to be constantly reminded what they are! Writing them down and having them physically present in your everyday life will make you 70% more likely to achieve them*.
Tip: Try sticking them on the fridge door at home or at the office next to your computer in big block writing, so you are constantly reminded of your focus. Even if you think you stop noticing them, you’ll still subconsciously be processing the messages daily.
We all have a long list of goals (or dreams!) we’d love to achieve. So look to create a hierarchy of goals you want to set yourself. Identify the ones that mean a lot more to you and may take longer to complete. That way you can recognise and acknowledge that these will require integrating smaller habitual changes through consistent hard work.
Tip: If you’re a visual person, create a colour-coded system with post-it notes on a reminder board - place your top priority goals at the top and work your way downwards.
You may have heard this over and over, but it’s damn hard to stay on track day in, day out if you’re striving for a “big picture” goal that may take months and months to achieve. In order to get there successfully, you must break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. That way you can tick them off regularly as you go, whilst you keep toiling away at some of the bigger long-term goals.
Tip: Celebrate these “little wins” as you reach them! This will create the continual fuel source needed to achieve your long-term wins.
Just because you set yourself a goal to achieve in the new year, it doesn’t mean everything will go your way in the coming months to help you along the way. Don’t be afraid to modify or adjust your goals, especially when it comes to long-term plans.
Tip: Acknowledge that there will always be factors out of your control that may inhibit your ability to complete your set tasks. However, this is not an excuse to blame others for not achieving your goals (it’s vital to own your responsibility). Rather it’s a reminder that you can only control your own actions and sometimes you’ve just got to roll with the punches! Remember, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.
Also referred to as self-efficacy, believing in your abilities and capacity to achieve your goal is vital for success. Because self-efficacy impacts your exercise choices, effort or intensity output at your task, and persistence when facing obstacles* (whether goal related obstacles of obstacles within training), having a strong sense of self belief will significantly increase your likelihood of goal success.
Tip: Each morning before you start your day, start to visualise yourself reaching your end goal as well as visualising the journey of smaller little wins. It may sound silly, but visualisation practices are proven to increase goal success significantly. How? Well, when you visualize an act, your brain generates an impulse that tells your neurons to "perform" the movement. This creates a new neural pathway that primes your body to act in a way consistent to what you imagined.
Norcross, J. C., & Vangarelli, D. J. (1988). The resolution solution: longitudinal examination of New Year's change attempts. Journal of substance abuse, 1(2), 127.
Gardner, S., & Albee, D. (2015). Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals, resolutions.
Jackson, D. (2010). How personal trainers can use self-efficacy theory to enhance exercise behavior in beginning exercisers. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 32(3), 67-71.
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