It’s a New Year!! Time for fresh starts, goals and resolutions. I have a handful of my own I’m going to tackle this year – both business-related and personal – and I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s never easy, but I find when I use the following strategies that I’ve picked up from different sources over the years, I’m successful at keeping on track and reaching my goals. I hope they might be of use to you too!
While the examples I use are mostly related to one of the most common resolutions/goals of weight-loss and fitness, they can be applied to any goal of any kind.
- Have a “Why”. If your goal is to start working out or to lose weight, make sure you know “Why”. To fit into a wedding dress? To be able to play with your kids without running out of breath? To get a killer 6-pack? Whatever it is, make sure it is motivating and inspiring for you, so you can imagine how awesome that end goal will be (and feel!), anytime you find yourself struggling to get there.
- Have a plan – write it down, and be specific. For example, don’t just say “I’ll work out 3 times a week”, plan something like “I’ll workout Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by getting up at 6am and doing 30 minutes on the exercise bike”. Schedule in time to do the work, otherwise you’ll never fit it into your busy life.
- Just do it – even when you don’t feel like it. This is my most important one. Nike was on to something with their “Just Do It” slogan, but when that first came out, I didn’t fully understand what they meant by it. It didn’t ring with me until one cold, dark morning, I was laying in bed trying to psych myself up into getting out of bed (my magically super cozy bed – how does a bed transform into that each morning??) and going to a gym class. The inner dialogue in my head, arguing between “get up, get up, get up!!” and “one more snooze, one more snooze!” became more and more heated until I finally yelled out aloud “JUST DO IT!!”. And then I understood. My personal trick though is to add onto that “even when you don’t feel like it”. If you get up and do what you set out to do – even if you don’t feel like it in that moment – you will feel AMAZING ALL DAY, compared to just a few snoozes of bliss (no matter how tempting they are!)
- Ease into it. Don’t start out doing a workout everyday when you haven’t worked out a single day in the previous weeks, months or years! That’s the best way to exhaust yourself and run out of steam early. Start small, but consistent, and then build on it until you get to the pace you’d like to maintain.
- Be Kind to Yourself. This is a big one too. It starts with being patient with yourself and easing into it, but also applies to when you slip-up – which you will. It’s human, and it’s OK! But don’t get so down on yourself you give up. Acknowledge the disappointment, forgive yourself and then;
- Get back on the horse – RIGHT AWAY. This is another big one – ESPECIALLY with losing weight. THE worst way to react to a slip-up is to write off the rest of the day. In fact, this is possibly the number 1 reason many people GAIN weight when they’re trying to lose it. If you give in and eat that tempting piece of pie, don’t say “oh stuff it, I’ll start again tomorrow”, start again ON THE VERY NEXT MEAL. Otherwise you will probably overindulge the rest of the day which is exponentially more damaging to your weight-loss than that one piece of pie.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Anytime you don’t feel like taking the action you need to to get closer to your goal, think of how badly you want your goal & how awesome it will feel when you get there. For example, how fantastic you’ll look, and how awesome you’ll feel, fitting perfectly into that beautiful wedding dress. You might be more motivated by thinking of something you’re trying to change; eg, you hate your flabby arms or muffin top. Whatever lights a fire in you to take action, use it!
- Reward yourself – but not counter-productively. Chances are that you’ve picked a goal that you find challenging (as you should!), and isn’t something you’ll reach overnight. So being human, we need regular positive feedback that keeps us going for the long haul. Something that makes us feel good about doing what we’re doing, such as a reward. But don’t reward yourself in a way that undoes all your hard work so far. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, DON’T REWARD YOURSELF WITH FOOD. Perhaps go buy yourself a new outfit you feel good in, or some new music for your workouts. Or even let yourself have a day off working out (one skipped workout is way less damaging than an overindulgent meal). If your goal is to save money, then don’t go shopping to reward yourself, perhaps call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and catch up. Pick something you really ENJOY. And make sure you schedule when you get your reward, for example, a day off working out on Sundays, or binge-watching your favorite TV show on Tuesday nights. That way when you feel like slacking off you can say to yourself “No, reward day is Sunday, keep going”, and it makes it that much sweeter when you get there. Also, avoid disguising slip-ups as ad-hoc rewards here & there when you haven’t really deserved it ; eg, “I’ll skip today’s workout because I worked out yesterday…”. Thinking like that won’t get you to your goal.
- Support yourself in your endeavor. This is a key one for me too. If you know you have a weakness for ice-cream (I do!), don’t keep it in the house. If you know you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings (I do!), pack your gym bag the night before. If you know you have a bad habit of spending, don’t keep your credit cards in your wallet. Identify your weaknesses (we all have them! And it’s OK!), embrace them – don’t hate them, but set up ways to help yourself overcome them when they’re most likely to strike.
- Something is better than nothing. OK, so you’ve hit the snooze button enough times that you’ll be late to that gym class. Get up and go anyway. Even if you only get there with enough time to do 10 minutes on an exercise bike. Or, go for a walk out your front door instead. Doing SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. You’ll feel better about yourself, and even if you keep doing that, you’ll find the action of getting up and doing SOMETHING becomes habit so that eventually you can gently modify that to be what you originally planned.
- Make it fun! My personal favorite! Life’s too short to not be fun. If you can’t stand the thought of going to a gym, then figure out a way to get active in a way that’s fun for you. Schedule daily walks with a friend, or take your kids to the park and play tag, or sign up for a 5K with a friend and train together, or hike regularly with the family. Whatever makes you smile while you’re doing it, or after you’ve done it. The joy of reaching your goals is just as much about the journey as the end result.
How do I know these strategies work? I’ve used them countless times to succeed at goals and resolutions of many different kinds. One example was while I was working towards losing 15lbs (7kg) of weight about 5 years ago. It wasn’t a huge amount of weight to lose, but it had been plaguing me for years, and was gradually increasing each year. So I set my goals, I followed a well-known dieting program, and I created a workout program for myself. Sure, I slipped up, countless times, but I followed the strategies above to get back on track and kept moving forward, until I lost those 15lbs. It felt amazing getting to my goal, and one of my chosen end-rewards was to have a professional photographer friend of mine do a photoshoot of me in a bikini with my husband’s dirtbike. I also made a calendar of the pics for hubby for his birthday 🙂 Here’s one of the pics from that shoot – it was a lot of fun and is a great reminder of what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it:
And although I stayed at that goal weight for 3 years, I’ve since had a baby, and even though I was back to my goal weight within 6 months of giving birth, over the last 18 months I’ve crept back up to carrying that 15 extra pounds again through lazy eating and working out habits. So guess what my resolution is again this year?? I’ve already started putting these strategies into practice again and am happy I have them in my toolkit. I really do hope you find them useful too.
In the end, there’s no magic pill, or fix, to get to where you want to go without any effort. You simply have to do the work to get there. We all know it. But if you can use strategies like these to get around whatever holds you back, you will ABSOLUTELY be successful, and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way!
Pageburn Properties, LLC is a Residential Redevelopment company that helps improve local neighborhood home values by buying, renovating and reselling homes in San Luis Obispo County, California. If you or someone you know needs to sell a house that needs a little – or a lot of – love, please head to our website to contact us, and get some free information! www.pageburnproperties.com