We’re almost a month into 2018 already! Folks everywhere are buzzing with excitement about the potential this new year has to offer! But while you’re fired up and ready to achieve your goals right now, research shows that in another 3-4 weeks, your dedication will likely peter out. Don’t be a statistic. Put some extra time and energy into fleshing out your goals and make a solid plan for how to move forward and stick with it.
Step 1: Choose a Goal That Matters
Ask yourself the following question: “What goal, if achieved today, would vastly improve my life?” For most, the important resolutions stem from areas of our lives where there is urgency. For example, pain and discomfort from diabetes and/or chronic inflammation can be improved by adopting a healthy diet. The stress of a hefty financial burden such as a rent increase or student loans could be relieved by increasing your income. These types of situations should be at the forefront of your mind when creating your goals.
Others may choose a goal that is emotionally or spiritually nourishing. Nourishing goals feed your mind, body, and heart. They are proven to both decrease stress and add years to your life. Examples include spending more time with loved ones, working out, participating in your favorite leisure activity, or meditating. Because they feed into your positive emotions and values, nourishing goals provide a clear and balanced inner atmosphere, which gives you more energy to take action in other areas of your life.
When you choose goals that are not significant or personally nourishing, they have little to no real impact on your life. Subconsciously, your mind knows that and will work against. In that case, you are unlikely to achieve your goals. So make sure to create goals that really matter.
Step 2. Be Specific
Let’s say your goal is to get in shape. What does that mean? The definition of “being in shape” changes depending on who you ask. What does that look like for you? Would you like to run a marathon in the next year? Do you dream of fitting into your favorite dress again? Or perhaps you’d like to to be able to easily pick up your daughter and hold her when she wants a hug from you. The biggest mistake most individuals make when creating their goals is leaving them undefined. Undefined goals are difficult to achieve because you cannot create a plan out of a vague idea. Be specific.
Specific goals would be “I want to lose 20lbs” or I want to make $500 a week. Those are goals you can envision and, consequently, build upon. When they are specific, you can achieve your goals.
Step 3. Create an Action Plan
Once you’ve got your what and your why, it’s time for the “How.” Take this step very seriously. You may have some idea of how to achieve your goals, but are you clear on the most effective path to working toward them? In most cases, the answer is no!
Do your research. This might mean seeking professional guidance, such as hiring a personal trainer, a business consultant, or a life coach. It may be as simple as searching for the best articles and research on your topics of interest. You can also reach out to friends or colleagues in your network who have had success in your area of interest. Collect as much information and guidance as you can. Then create your plan.
- Write down all of the action steps.
- Decide what you’re going to do first and when.
Pro tip: Make sure that the action steps are manageable enough to stick to for however long you need. For example, if your plan is to work out daily, but you haven’t worked out for the past 3 years (or ever in your life), this is too big. Start with 2-3 times a week instead. A big reason many people give up on their goals is because they find the action steps to be too hard. Make them easy at first. Once you can stick to a routine, you can revisit your action plan to create something more challenging.
Step 4. Take Action
This one is self explanatory. Take action every day. This means that, on a daily basis, you should review your action plan and get to work on achieving your goal. In this step, it’s important not to judge yourself for being imperfect. Did you get hungry and eat an extra snack that wasn’t part of your nutrition plan? Or perhaps you were only able to draft a blog rather than publish it like you wanted to. Give yourself a break. It takes practice to learn your strengths, your weaknesses, and your rhythms. So you can only run 1/4 mile, not a full mile. Walk the rest. You’ll get stronger and faster over time. Stick with the plan and work your way up to where you want to be.
Step 5. Find Support.
So many of us try to do it all alone, but the reality is that human beings are social creatures. We require connection and support to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. It is no different when we are working toward our goals. The best ways to find support are to:
- Join a group specifically oriented toward your goal. For those with health and fitness goals, get a gym membership. For those looking to make new friends, join a meetup group or social club. Make sure that the values of the group align with your own. Also, feel free to test it out before you commit so you can find the right fit.
- Recruit friends, family, or other loved ones to help keep you accountable. Let them know what you are working on and have them check in with you from time to time. This is especially helpful if they have the same goals. That way, you can work on them together.
6. Renew Your Excitement EVERY DAY.
This tip can be a game changer. Can you guess what one piece is often missing when trying to achieve your goals? The answer is consistency. We get excited when we first commit, but eventually, that excitement wears off. We start to doubt ourselves and we forget why we committed in the first place. Get your head back in the game.
- Revisit your why. It is an emotional trigger point that helps you generate energy around your goal. It will stir up positive feelings that compel you to take action.
- Create and recite 1-2 daily affirmations related to your goals. Affirmations are quotes and phrases that serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement. They align your thoughts with your goals and action steps. You can either look up affirmations related to your goal or create some for yourself. Test them out by speaking them out loud. The feelings you get when you repeat them will tell if they are on track.
- Lean on your support network. When you’re feeling uninspired or down, call your coach or call a friend. Find someone who is willing to tell you that you are strong and capable, “So get your butt back out there and achieve your goals!”
The process to create and achieve your goals takes time. But in my experience creating goals for myself and my clients, I’ve found that a little extra effort in the planning process can create massive momentum. That ultimately leads to bigger transformations and greater success. Just remember: a goal is not just a shiny object to obtain or a state to be achieved. It is an important aspect of creating a happy and fulfilling life for yourself and your loved ones. You deserve to be happy and you are capable of achieving that. So put in the work and in time you’ll get there.
Stronger for Today,
Fitness Coach & Digital Media Specialist
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The Method3 Fitness blog is updated weekly. All content is designed to improve the way you move, eat, and think so you can achieve your goals and live stronger for today. Check back here each week and LIKE our Fan Page, to stay up to date on the latest tips, strategies and methods to get fit, lose fat, and build confidence. Ready to get started with us? Click here for a complimentary goal strategy session!