The New Resolution: Setting Goals that Stick in 2019
The beginning of a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start. We wake up on January 1st full of optimism and determination to change our lives. Often despite, having a bit too much fun the night before. We burst into the New Year with hopefulness and declare that this year will be different, better, improved.
Human beings seem to have an assiduous desire to “improve” their lives. Less sugar, more spinning, better sleep. “I will be amazing by June”, we say. “I will learn a new language, travel to Greece and be able to bounce a penny off my abs. The ME I always wanted to be”. Some time around March we stumble across our list of New Year resolutions on a tattered piece of paper and quickly stuff it back in the drawer with a feeling of self-loathing and shame. We tend to set the same goals every single year, but why?
The answer is simple. We set the bar too high, forget to break down the specific steps and underestimate the importance of following-up with ourselves.
The key to setting realistic goals is this: Simplicity and Sustainability.
The idea is to keep the essence of your personal wellness goals spacious. Since we cannot predict the future, we can assume that our circumstances, environments and situations will change throughout the year. It is a good idea to leave some room for your goals to adapt to changing contexts. Keep it broad and simple.
We also tend to set goals that we think we should set instead of what we really need or want to set. In order for new habits to be sustainable, they must be in line with our deeper ideologies about health and wellness and remain consistent through changing tides.
Example: Instead of asking, “What do I need to do this year?”, try asking, “What do I value most?”. I have put together a few tips to help you focus on setting sustainable resolutions for personal wellness. Here is a fun Five Step Exercise for setting a New Year goal plan that will stick.
STEP ONE: Use a blank sheet of paper to pour your heart out and jot down ALL the goals that come to mind. No rules, just a dream-catcher of thoughts. You may decide to leave this magical sheet of paper on your desk or kitchen table for a few days until you are sure your have captured all of the ideas floating around in your mind.
STEP TWO: Identify several broad categories for these goals. Your magical thought catcher might have dozens of ideas. However, a closer contemplation will reveal that many of these are the same or similar thoughts. Try identifying four to six board categories. For example, Physical Wellness, Intellectual Wellness, Nutritional Wellness, Creative Wellness. Hint: These broad categories may be written in the form of an affirmation statement.
For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose ten pounds, exercise three times a week and do more sit-ups”, your broad goal might be, Physical Wellness. An affirmation (if you choose to use one) might look something like; “I dedicate time each day to check in with my body and assess my feeling of physical wellness.”. Keep it simple.
STEP THREE: Ah...the trusted index card. We will call them Wellness Cards. Smile. Write down the four to six broad wellness categories on the front of an index card. If you choose to adapt the positive affirmation, add that too!
Example (Front of Wellness Card): PHYSICAL WELLNESS I dedicate time each day to check in with my body to assess my feeling of physical wellness.
On the back of the Wellness Card, write down specific ideas you have for how to do this. Remember the “changing circumstances”? Give yourself options. It is unlikely that every single Wednesday of the year, you will be in the 6:30 yoga class. Stuff happens. If you are having an off day, perhaps you simply choose to stretch at home and defer class until you feel better. The idea is to set your self up for success with flexible options instead of creating sneaky opportunities to feel disappointed for not following an unrealistic routine.
Example (Back of Wellness Card): Yoga 1x week. Meditation and breathing exercise. Run 3x week. Stretch.
HINT: Colorful index cards and inspiring stickers may add an extra touch of positive energy.
STEP FOUR: Identify your main source of organization. Do you use your phone, a spiral notebook, planner or a journal to keep track of your life? Determine your main system of organization and keep your Wellness Cards near. Commit to starting each day by quickly reviewing the cards and noting your achievements in your calendar each evening.
STEP FIVE: In your calendar, note periodic dates throughout the year to review your Wellness Goals. March, June, September, December are good three month markers to conduct a goal refresher. You may decide to make this review a special occasion. A Personal Wellness Date with your self so-to-speak. This time of reflection allows us to refine our specific goals for current circumstances and add new ones to the list.
Setting realistic objectives for personal wellness is an essential part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. Everyone has a unique approach to transforming aspiring thoughts into tangible action steps, this is just one. However, you decide to approach it, remember to celebrate each accomplishment and reinforce achievement with the positive self-talk you deserve. You are the master of your own destiny and each of us innately owns the ability to live a powerful life.
If you would like to take a deeper look into your personal wellness practices, consider taking my Six Week Wellness Journey online. The Global Wellness Center offers a unique opportunity to create a thorough assessment of personal wellness, create a comprehensive goal plan and talk through the strengths and barriers that affect productivity and happiness.