I hear it every year from clients, “I’m going to work out every day for an hour starting on January 1st” and “I’m not going to eat any sweets.” These goals are often set after months of not working out or months of indulging in cookies, cakes and holiday treats. If you’ve set goals like in the past and started out strong and then given up on your goal in a short time it’s no surprise. For most of us, making sustainable life changes means setting goals that are reasonable and easy for us to accomplish. The more small successes we have, the more motivated we are to continue working on our goals.
*NOTE: You know yourself best. If you’ve been successful in the past with an intense approach then by all means stick to it!
More reasonable goals:
I will walk every day at lunch for 15 minutes.
In January I will eliminate sugary drinks, in February I will eliminate cookies and in March….
The best tip I’ve found for reaching goals is to schedule whatever it is you want to accomplish. When we commit to a time in our day to exercise, meditate or write that book we’ve been meaning to for years it’s much more likely we will honor that time and do what we set out to do. Make your goals just as important as your work and your doctor appointments. For example, if you want to start a daily meditation practice, schedule your practice in your planner and do your best to keep that time sacred.
Every day at the end of lunch (12:45pm) I will walk for 15 minutes.
Every night at 8:00pm I will meditate for 20 mins.
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30pm I will go to yoga.
I will devote 4 hours on Saturdays (8:00am-12:00pm) to writing my book.
Be okay with improvising occasionally
Stop making it all or nothing. If you miss a day or don’t meet your goal completely one day, don’t give up—IMPROVISE! If I have a goal to exercise daily and I can’t do my traditional work out, I’ll improvise with a walk around the airport or do a quick bedtime yoga routine to reach my goal for the day. More important than being perfect is being willing to adapt when necessary. If you’re traveling all day it can be impossible to make it to the gym. Do you forfeit your goal and give up or do you do your best and give yourself credit? By being adaptable and giving myself credit, I’ve been able to sustain my goals for a longer period of time. If you know in advance that you can’t follow through with your goal, make a plan to adapt your schedule so you can fit it in somewhere else.
Today there is a work meeting during lunch so I’ll walk at the mall for 15 mins as I run errands.
There is a dinner party tonight at 8pm and I’ll miss my meditation so I’ll practice being mindful with our guests.
I can’t make it to yoga on Tuesday so I’ll do a yoga video on youtube at home.
Rally family, friends, co-workers and your coach to help you review your goals and make sure they are manageable, scheduled and complete with a plan for those days that aren’t regular (e.g. travel days, sick days, etc). Spend a moment thinking about who your best supports are and reach out to them.
Happy New Year!
Wishing you a year filled will joy, love and success,