Setting New Year’s goals for yourself is indeed commendable, but the follow-through doesn’t always happen. Here’s how you can make them stick.
It’s the time of year where people are starting to think about goal setting around their health. You’re looking forward to the new year and thinking about what you’ll try to improve or get done in the upcoming 12 months.
You’re probably looking back on the past year and thinking about what you’ve accomplished..or maybe haven’t accomplished quite yet. And if the latter is where most of your goals have fallen, you may feel that optimism and hope for a new year start to fade.
After all, how will it be any different when come the end of January, you’ll be back to life as usual?
Let’s take a couple of steps back and reevaluate why this resolution-setting thing just isn’t working.
Sure, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set a purpose for the upcoming months. It’s important to take time to assess where we are in our lives, where we want to be, as well as acknowledge where we were previously.
While most of us can easily identify where we want to be, it can be even more difficult to look back at where we’ve been. In fact, it’s the retrospective aspect of goal setting that is just as important, if not more so, than the making of the goals. Consider goal setting as a two-step approach:
STEP 1: GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT
First, it’s important to give yourself credit for your past accomplishments. When looking back at a full year, it can be easier to remember the let-downs rather than the accomplishments. Without a way to track all of your successes, you will have less motivational fuel, and therefore less likely to feel motivated to continue on.
On New Year’s Eve, find a container. It can be on old pasta jar, an old coffee tin, even just a cardboard box or whatever else you have on hand. Throughout the year, as you accomplish small goals you’ve set for yourself, write down what you accomplish and put it in your container. At the end of the year or whenever you’re looking back to make new goals, pull out the container and remind yourself of all the goals you set that you accomplished. This is both a good mood booster to remind you that you can accomplish goals you set for yourself, and also allows you some insight on what type of goals you can set that will set you up for success.
STEP 2: ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT DIDN’T WORK
It’s also important to acknowledge past failings, and take an honest look at them to understand why those failings happened. Did you have any unforeseen challenges with family and work that made it difficult to make time for the new exercise goals you had? Perhaps you spent more time on social media or watching TV on the Sundays that you can reallocate to meal prepping.
Whatever the reasons, give yourself compassion for what was out of your control, and recognize areas that you simply need to put more effort into. Once you understand why you’ve failed to reach a goal in the past, you can adjust your strategy and try again.
And more importantly, remember to enjoy the time with your loved ones, and try not to stress about all those resolutions.
You’ve got all year to make it happen.
Adapted from the original article.
Taryn Schubert, RD is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian and NASM Certified Personal Trainer helping people create healthy diets that fit their lifestyle. With her specialty in adult weight management and mindful eating, Taryn believes food should be a source of joy and nourishment, not “good” or “bad” in the way society perpetuates. Visit Taryn and begin creating your healthier relationship with food.