How many times have you set yourself a New Years Resolution only to find yourself forgetting all about it by February? This is a really common issue and I’ll explain why.
Most New Years resolutions fail due to a lack of planning. People just don’t see the need to dedicate a decent block of time to really plan out their goals. They think they can just pick a goal and get right to it, when the reality is, there’s a proven method that needs to be applied when you set any kind of goal.
Each year, I see people make the same tired old mistakes when it comes to setting their New Years resolutions. Today, I’ll show you five small steps that you can take to make this year the year when your goals turn into reality.
Step #1: Clarity
The first step is to take some time to get really clear about what you want for your New Years Resolutions. Think about what things are really important to you.
What issues have held you back year after year and what bad habits are you ready to drop in 2014? It’s important that this process isn’t rushed.
We need to take some time to get clear about what we want to focus on for the new year. Start by making a list of your top 5 goals now.
Step #2: Is it your goal?
It’s really common for people to set a goal because they feel that they should do it. This is the fastest route to failure.
Check in and see if the goals you wrote down are really your goals, or whether they are in fact someone else’s. Often, well-meaning family members can encourage us to make goals that are important to them – not us.
If deep down inside you don’t want the goal, you can forget it. Cross out any goals on your list that are not really your own.
Step #3: Motivate the goal
Ask yourself this question: “Why do I want to achieve this? What will I gain?”
If you can’t answer this question immediately with four or five reasons why you want to reach this goal, then it’s unlikely you’ll ever reach it.
Spend some time getting really clear about why you want this. Write down a list of reasons, as this will really energise the goal for you.
Then, three months down the track when you’re losing motivation, you can refer to this list to remind yourself of why you need to keep going.
Step #4: Assess what you might lose
Ask yourself this: “What have I got to lose by achieving this goal?”
The number one reason why people fail at their New Years resolutions is because what they are set to gain does not outweigh what they will lose in the process.
I’ll put this another way: if what you want comes at a price – be it physical, emotional, financial or mental – then this might block you from your own success. The mind works with simple equations.
So, if you have a goal to lose 5 kg, then the mind will assess what it will cost you to reach this goal and if it feels like it’s not worth it you can say goodbye to reaching the goal. Here are a few examples of what losing 5kgs could cost you:
- Money to purchase health foods
- Time to exercise
- Sacrifice sleep to get up early to exercise
- Sacrifice the comfort that your favourite food gives you
- Sacrifice the fun from eating out
As you can see, there’s quite a lot to lose by reaching this goal.
So, it’s important at this point to ensure you’re OK with losing all of these things, because until you make peace with this, you won’t reach the goal. One way of making peace is to put in place alternative methods of achieving what you will lose.
For example, to ensure you don’t miss out on fun, you could organise a healthy event with friends and family in advance. To ensure you don’t lose out on sleep, you could go to bed an hour earlier.
Step #5: Use your imagination
Research has shown that visualisation techniques literally change the structure of the brain according to what you want to achieve.
So, if you put aside time to think about losing weight, then you are much more likely to do it in real life. What’s more, the brain is often more motivated by pictures rather than numbers or words.
It can be really helpful to spend a few minutes each day to visualise a scenario where you have already achieved your goal.
For example I find that the clients I work with get really motivated by imagining themselves fitting into their skinny jeans, or their favourite cocktail dress. This image is much more motivating that just ‘losing 5 kgs’ because it has more meaning attached to it.
Zoë B runs a Life Coaching practice in Double Bay, Sydney. Zoë also helps 10,000 people each month to live more happy, balanced and successful lives through her blog: Simple Life Strategies. For more information about Zoë B and the Simple Life Strategies blog visit www.simplelifestrategies.com.