For some people, New Year's Resolutions are a joke or merely a topic of conversation during holiday gatherings. For others, there is a serious need to make a lifestyle change and the New Year seems like the perfect time to make those changes. However, many people are setting themselves up for failure as soon as the words roll off their tongue.
I agree that a new year is the perfect time to make some changes in your life. It was in January 2010 that I resolved to live a healthier life and started training for my first 5k - a step that four years later continues to have a positive impact on my life! What did I do differently that allowed me to succeed? THREE simple things . . .
1) Set SMALL goals and CELEBRATE often
"I'm going to lose 50 pounds this year."
There are some people who will make a statement like that and be able to do it, but the average person is going to stay strong for a few days or even a few weeks and then give up. This resolution is too big. It is going to take a long time to achieve it. While it is good to see the big picture, it is easier to accomplish a goal if you break it down into smaller pieces.
"I'm going to lose five pounds this month."
Or even smaller . . .
"I'm going to lose one pound this week."
That is do-able! When you achieve that goal - celebrate! Do a victory dance! Hi-Five your family! Pump your fist in the air! Allow yourself to feel good and bask in the joy of victory! That good feeling will spur you on to achieve your next goal . . . "I'm going to lose one pound this week."
One week will turn into two and then three and then four . . . and then fifty!
Back in 2010, my resolution was to live a healthier life. I set a goal for myself - I will complete my first 5k on April 10, 2010. Using a Couch to 5k training schedule (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sofa-to-5k-training-tips), I broke my goal down further - I will complete the 5k training schedule this week. After 15 weeks I was ready to go! Fifteen weeks of small goals and small celebrations led to my successfully crossing the finish line of the Genesis Riverside Run 5k on April 10, 2010.
April 10, 2010 - My First 5k!
My friend Emily Jackson shared this acronym with me - Goals should be SMART.
What New Year's Resolution have you been thinking about? Is it a SMART one? How can you break it down to make it SMART? The SMART-er or SMALLER your goal the more often you get to celebrate a victory. Celebrating those small victories is going to make you feel good about yourself and push you toward achieving your bigger goal.
Setting small goals and celebrating often is only one of three simple actions that helped me keep my New Year's Resolution back in 2010. Number two is . . . I'll share that one tomorrow!