So you’ve jotted down your New Year goals; If you’ve been doing this for the past few years, you’ll know that the hardest part is still to come: sticking to your goals, no matter what. The question is, how? .
1. Set goals, not dreams
You might think that setting your goals is the easy part of the process, but in reality, it is not. In fact, this the part that will determine whether you’re going to stick to and achieve your goals or not. Firstly you need to understand the difference between dreams and goals. If your intention is to lose weight and you wrote something like “I’m going to lose weight”, that’s a dream, not a goal. A goal is measurable, precise, clear and often has a timeframe attached to it. Rather say for instance “By May 2015, I will weigh 70 Kgs” or “I will be a size 6 by October 2015”. Setting measurable goals not only helps you keep track of your progress, but also helps you regain focus whenever you get side-tracked.
2. Have a plan for each goal
A goal without a plan can never become reality. Take each one of your goals and break it down into small actions/steps that you will take every to bring you closer and closer to achieving that specific goal by the set date or even before. Again, if one of your goals is to lose weight, draw up a plan that will help you achieve it. Your action plan could look like this for instance:
Goal = Weigh 70 Kgs by April 2015
Exercise plan (3X / week)
- Monday = cardio
- Wednesday = Abs & legs
- Friday = Arms & Chest
- Eating plan
- B/fast = Oast
- Lunch = Chicken breasts
- Dinner (before 7 pm) = Elephant meat
- Cheat day = Saturday = 1 pizza
The above is just an example, but I’m sure you get the point. Small steps and an action plan make your goals more achievable. They will encourage you to make small but consistent changes towards achieving the bigger goals. Do not see the fact of spending 3 to 4 hours drawing up your action plan as a waste of time; these hours will be the best 3 to 4 hours you’ll spend this year, trust me on that.
3. Have a strong « why »
Your goals are set, you action plan is drawn up, now what ? Well, I’m sure you all know what the next logical step is, to take action. The question is how do you take action and keep at it when life gets on the way?
You need to have strong reasons why you’ve set the goals you’ve set and why you absolutely have to achieve them. That “why” will be the engine that keeps you going when obstacles get on your way; it needs to be strong enough to pull you up when you’re down and ready to give up. In the case of people who want to lose weight, studies have shown that success is mostly achieved when a) they have an important event to attend, which requires them to look good (school reunion, wedding etc.), b) their current weight is threatening or has recently threatened their life, c) they have lost or are in the process of losing something or someone dear to them due to their weight. Whatever your reason is, find it and remind yourself of it each time you feel like giving up.
4. Get external help
The irony is that the things that are worth pursuing are also the toughest ones to pursue, but that’s what make them so special. Don’t embark on a lonely journey! Surround yourself with like-minded people and people who bring positivity and encouragement to your life. It can be friends, family, a personal coach, books on personal development and motivation, videos and audios. Anything that will create a conducive environment for you to achieve your goals. I attended one of Les Brown’s seminars recently where he referred to the concept of OQP (Only Quality People); do not hesitate to separate from those who bring nothing but negativity to your life and surround yourself with people who help you make the changes you want to, by encouraging you and sharing their own experiences.
5. Celebrate the small wins
Allow yourself to be happy with the progresses achieved. So what If you planned to lose 2kg a week and you only lost 1kg at the end of one particular week? Being too harsh on yourself puts you in the wrong mind-set. You need to actively make the effort to see the positive in any perceived setback and immediately get back on track. Celebrating the small wins and rewarding yourself is a very good way to build faith in yourself and what you’re trying to do, so go ahead and have that “me moment” of celebration and do not feel guilty about it!