12 Tips to Make Your Goals for 2018 Stick
It’t that time of the year! For 80% of people, New Year’s Resolutions are made and broken within 6 weeks. Why the grim statistics? Most people make these resolutions without thoroughly thinking them through and coming up with an action plan. Making permanent behavior changes is REALLY hard, but it can be done. I don’t even like to use the word “resolution”! Read my 12 tips to make goals for 2018 stick.
Tips to make permanent behavior changes
Print this blog post and fill in your answers!
1. Find a goal that means something to you. Take your time with this and do some real soul searching. Pick something that you want to do, not something you think you should do. “I should lose weight” or “I should exercise” probably won’t happen. For example, for many years, I’ve said I want to be a morning person. I should get up early and exercise or do work on the computer before going to my office. Jealousy would sink in when my clients told me they took a 6:30 am Flywheel class. I finally realized that I really didn’t want to get out of bed at 6 am. Your goal needs to really speak to you otherwise you are likely to fail. My goal of being a morning person did not speak to me!
What is your goal? _________________________________________________________
2. How important is this goal is to YOU on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest)?
3. Identify your motivator. Why is this goal important to you? What is your motivator? Having a strong motivator is one of the most important aspects in achieving your goals. For example: If your goal is to lose weight, think about why it’s important. So you can ward off diabetes that you watched your dad deal with? So you can keep up with your grandchildren? So you can feel more comfortable dating? pic credit
Your motivator (be specific): __________________________________________________
4. Envision what your life would be like if you met this goal. How would making this change affect your life? Spend some time with these thoughts. Visualize how a day (or week) would feel if you met this goal. Example: If I lost weight, I would have energy to go to the gym after work and not feel asleep on the couch at 9 pm. I would feel comfortable in my jeans when I go out and not have to spend hours trying to find something that fit. I would be able to join my family on weekend bike rides. Positive thoughts breed positive actions.
5. Explore the Pros & Cons of not making this change. I find it helps to write thoughts down on paper. I like to make a little grid with the columns Pros/Cons. The pros will need to outweigh the cons in order to be successful in changing your behaviors. pic credit
Make your own grid
6. What are the potential barriers to meeting this goal? Change is not easy! We all have real and perceived barriers. Think about your barriers. How many of these are REAL barriers, how many are excuses and how many can be overcome with a strong enough motivator? For example, I have sleep issues and tend to stay up too late working in the computer. I tell myself that I HAVE to stay up late to do this to get work done, but the reality is that if I didn’t get side tracked with ridiculous Bravo Housewives tv while eating dinner, I could get my work done earlier. This is an EXCUSE.
What are your potential barriers? ________________________________________
7. What kind of support systems would you need to accomplish this behavior change? It’s been shown that social support can help you achieve your goals. Find a friend, a co-worker, your spouse or other like-minded people who are working on the same behavior. Try an app, an online support group or even facebook!
Your answer: __________________________________________________________
8. Anticipate potential challenges that could interfere with your behavior change because they will happen … probably a lot! Think about your co-worker’s candy jar on the desk, your PMS sugar cravings, the rain stopping you from running …
Some of your potential challenges: ____________________________________________
9. Plan ahead for how to handle these potential challenges. Brainstorm ahead of time how you will handle these challenges. For example, ask your husband to buy a flavor of ice cream you don’t like. Tell your girlfriend you want to order a glass of wine versus splitting a bottle. Find an exercise class that you can take indoors if it rains.
How you can handle challenges:____________________________________________________________________
10. Be prepared for lapses. Lapses are part of the normal change process. A lapse is not failure, it is a learning opportunity. If you swore off ordering in Chinese food and end up doing it, figure out why it happened. Were you “over-hungry” and ordered the first thing that popped into your mind? Maybe you need to add in a late afternoon snack to combat hunger. Make a list of local take-out places that can deliver healthy food.
Fill in when a lapse occurs and what you can do in the future to prevent it:
11. Focus on the process not the outcome. Change doesn’t happen overnight – it takes hard work and patience. Just thinking “I want to lose 25 pounds” will not get you there. You need to break it down step by step. Setting daily mini goals makes it more manageable. In addition, meeting these mini goals increases self-confidence. It’s this self-confidence that can lead to permanent behavior changes.
12. Write it down. Commit to it. Write your goal down, what your motivating factor(s) are, and specific details of what, when and how. Break your large goal down into small concrete goals. Read my previous blog post on Tips to Keep You Motivated to Meet Your Goals Pic credit
Write down your “big” goal:_______________________________________________________
Break this down into several smaller goals:
“Growth is not a steady, forward, upward progression. It is instead a switchback trail: three steps forward, two back, one around the bushes and a few simply standing, before another forward leap”. – Dorothy Corkville Briggs
What is your New Year’s Resolution? How do you plan on accomplishing it? I’d love to share a readers New Years Resolution Story and do a blog post on it! Feel free to email me your plan!
Credits and references:
Wellcoaches training manual. In addition to being a RD, I’m currently studying to become a certified coach by Wellcoaches. Some of my ideas for this blog post came from the Wellcoaches training manual chapter on behavior change (author contributors: Margaret Moore, Gabrielle Highstein, Bob Tschannen-Moran, and Gloria Silverio)