What comes up to mind when you hear the words “New Year’s Resolution”?
Do you feel a sense of excitement bubbling up inside of you?
Or do you feel a sense of dread that even the Mariah Carey Christmas songs on repeat at the mall can’t compare to?
If you answered the latter, you’re not alone. Personally, the approach of the New Year used to remind me of the goals I set out for myself previously but didn’t accomplish.
How about you? Maybe you set some awesome goals last year like working out every morning, but dropped them after the second week of January because Life got too busy. Perhaps you had set yourself a goal of making more home-cooked meals but found the temptation of take-out too alluring.
Until recently, the thought of setting another goal for the new year and not achieving it seemed too discouraging to me… I’ll be honest, my unfinished goals were making me feel like something was wrong with ME…
Until I realized what I was doing wrong. And I have a hunch you might have been making the same mistake.
The real reason you’re not sticking to your goals
Here’s the thing. YOU’re not the problem.
It’s not your ABILITY to complete a task that’s an issue. (You know how to finish a bunch of things.)
It’s likely your APPROACH to your new goal that’s setting you up for failure.
And I’m going to share with you 3 ways to change your approach to goal setting, so that you can stick to your New Year’s Resolutions and get the results you want.
If you have goals related to your health and prediabetes, you’ll want to continue reading. 🙂
Before I continue, I want to let you know I’m hosting a free Goal-Setting Workshop during the month of December 2018, just in time for you to create your 2019 resolutions! Click here for more information.
3 secrets to sticking to New Year’s Resolutions
Make the reason behind your goal personal
When someone tells me they want to lose weight, and I ask them why, the usual response is “to be healthier”. Now, here’s my question to you.
Do you think “being healthier” is a compelling enough reason to get out of your warm cozy bed at 6AM and to go out for a run in the dark, cold and rainy weather?
I don’t know about you, but my answer is heck no.
The reason many people give up on their goals is that the reason they started isn’t compelling enough to continue when things get hard or when “Life gets busy”.
“Getting healthier” is vague and doesn’t mean much to anybody. When I get that answer, I press my clients to dig deeper and find the REAL reason they want to become healthier.
This reason needs to be personal and stir up some strong emotions for people to want to stick to their goals.
One client told me she wanted to lose weight because it’ll allow her to have more energy to play with her grandchildren. She imagined what it would be like to be able to play with them without having to stop because she’s breathless or has pain in her knees. The image of her laughing grandchildren being chased by her during a game of tag kept her motivated throughout her weight loss journey.
You can see how this vision of her spending time with the people she loved is a much more compelling reason than simply “being healthy”.
So what’s YOUR reason behind your health goals? Why do you want to take better control of your prediabetes? If you need help discovering your compelling reason, I wrote an article for you on how to find your “Why”. Click here to read it.
Give up the all or nothing mentality
We’ve all gone through this scenario before.
- We set a goal.
- We stick to it for 7 days straight (and feel darn proud of ourselves)
- And some unforeseen reason (your kid is sick, your boss gave you a work deadline for tonight, etc), we need to skip Day 8.
What usually happens on Day 9?
The unfortunate answer is that we usually give up on our goal. We tell ourselves “What’s the use? We already blew it on Day 8, so why continue?”
Logically, we know this approach doesn’t make any sense. But our “good” friend Perfectionism is telling us another story.
When it comes to goal setting, a lot of people have this “Go big, or go home” and “It’s all or nothing” mentality. While these catchy phrases make us sound like we’re hard-workers and high-achievers, it’s actually just crazy talk that’s getting in the way of our goals.
By believing in “all or nothing”, we tell ourselves if it can’t be done 100%, then it’s not worth doing.
So you end up doing 0%.
Nada. Nothing. Nil.
What if we considered another option?
What if we:
- Gave up the “all or nothing” mentality, and accepted that on some day we slip.
- Accepted that’s it’s totally normal and part of the journey?
- Just picked ourselves up, and simply kept on going?
You know what would happened? YOUR GOALS WOULD HAPPEN, THAT’S WHAT.
So the next time that you unintentionally skip a workout, eat a cookie or forget your lunch at home, don’t beat yourself up so much that you give everything up.
Of course, I’m not saying you should use this as an excuse to do thing half-heartedly. You still need to be honest with yourself and know when you’re intentionally slacking off. However, if something unexpected occurs, or a craving is really strong that day, don’t beat yourself up.
75% done is still better than not done at all. Heck, it’s a whole lot better.
So keep on taking actions towards improving your health and prediabetes, even if it’s not perfect. Because you’re still on the right path.
Cut your goal in half
When I set up goals with my clients, I like to ask how confident they feel about achieving them.
For example, let’s say someone who eats out everyday tells me they want to bring their own lunch to work 5 days a week. I’ll ask them to use a scale of 1 to 5 and tell me how confident they feel about sticking to this goal for an entire month, and to be really honest with themselves. If the answer isn’t a 4 or 5, I tell them to cut down their goal until they can answer a 4/5.
For example, this client finally admitted that she felt much more confident about bringing her own lunch 2 days out a week. There’s nothing that says she can’t later change her goal to 3 times a week until she reaches 5 days a week.
While this approach may seem “weak” and “not aiming high enough” to our perfectionist/type-A personality/uptight self, it’s designed to build confidence.
Coming back to the example of my client, if she brought her lunch three times that week, but was aiming for 5 times a week, she’d feel pretty discouraged and might give up. However, if her goal was to bring it twice a week, she’d feel proud that she surpassed her goal.
Same result (bringing lunch three times a week), but very different outcome (feeling like a failure versus like a champion).
Of course, you don’t want to set a goal that’s too easy for you and that won’t actually bring you a sense of pride when you achieve it. It’s about setting a goal that’s outside your comfort zone, but still within reach.
So those where my 3 secrets to sticking to your goals. If this is a topic you’re interested in, I’m hosting a Goal-Setting Workshop during the month of December 2018. Click here for more info.