Set realistic expectations
It’s not only goal-setting that can be difficult; it’s keeping the expectations in check as well. We know that hard work is needed to achieve a goal, but it’s also hard-wired into our systems to expect instant gratification. If you’re planning to lose twenty pounds, don’t expect your weight to drop the moment you exit the gym – you have to work hard for it, and this includes the sacrifices that need to be done in order for you to reach your goal.
Set achievable and measurable goals
This is in connection with the first tip. People tend to expect toomuch and set goals that are too high when it comes to their resolutions. This leads them to bail out when they feel overwhelmed by the sudden changes or demands brought about by their massive goals.
Let’s say – hypothetically, although this may also be real – that you’re a couch potato, and you want to lose weight in 2014, you might write down the following:
- Get a hot body.
- Hit the gym.
- Lose weight this year.
- Improve my diet.
These are goals are all well meaning – who wouldn’t want a hot bod? But what exactly do you want to do when you hit the gym, or how many pounds do you want to lose? When do you know that you have achieved your resolutions already? Set goals that are specific, achievable and measurable, so you can easily gauge if you’re making improvements as you go along. You might want to write your resolutions along these lines:
- Lose two inches off my waistline in two month.
- Go to yoga class at least twice a week, exercise three hours a week.
- Lose six pounds a month for the next five months.
- Reduce soda intake to one serving a week.
- Lower carb intake to half and eat at least three servings of produce daily.
If you compare both resolutions, you can really say that the second set is easier to follow, because you can quickly remember what you actually want to do, and then track your progress against your specific goals.
Tell people about your resolutions
The more people who know about your resolutions, the more difficult it is for you to bail out. Trust me, it has something to do with pride. The last thing you want is to hear people telling you, “Told ya you couldn’t do it” six months into the year.
But on top of this, announcing your resolutions allows you to get support from people close to you. Or, you may find others who want to do the exact same things. These people will serve as your support group and help you out as the you go out and make your goals happen.
Give yourself rewards
Giving yourself positive reinforcement after you reach a mini-goal is a great way to keep yourself on track. However, the rewards should not contradict your goals. Your reward should not consist of having a one-week vacation from the gym after your weight has dropped by five pounds. You might want to reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of training shoes instead.
Finally, don’t stop!
You may not have written your resolutions yet (as it is the first week of January already), but don’t let that stop you from starting. If you fall off the wagon and binge eat after three weeks of dieting, give yourself a quick slap on the back of the head and go back to dieting. If you feel that your resolutions are not enough or are too much, go ahead and rewrite them. The most important thing is that you do not stop and just continue what you are doing until you get there.
So go ahead, make those resolutions work so you’ll see a better you in 2014!