Over the past few days I have read hundreds of Facebook posts where people have declared that their new years resolution is to `lose weight’. Though it may have been expressed a little differently, that’s what 99% of them came down to. In many cases the status post was followed by lots of comments about doing massive amounts of cardio to `burn off the calories’ that have been consumed over the past month of celebrations. Dare I say here that I think many of these people have set themselves up for failure.
There is no doubt that a life change is necessary to see goals met, in any area of our lives. And sometimes the changes have to be major. However they also have to be sustainable. Better to make some small changes that can be maintained over a long period than radical changes that go by the wayside after a few weeks or months.
In our New Year’s Eve post we talked a bit about making resolutions and writing them in such a way that they become goals rather than just wishes or dreams. I suggested, `when making your new year resolutions, setting your goals for the new year, ask yourself how much time and effort will your goals require. How much are you willing to give?’
This is where reality kicks in.
Establish good habits
It’s our daily habits, that got us to where we are now (be that a good place or otherwise). If we’ve set new goals, it’s our daily habits that will get us to the point of reaching those goals. These are often small things.
I happened to have a day to myself on New Year’s Day so I spent some time working on this for myself. Writing the big goals is the easy bit. I’m used to doing that in many areas of my life. What I spent time on was thinking about (& writing down) what are the habits that I need to develop in order to achieve my wellness goals. Then, not only what are they, but how am I going to build them into my daily life.
Now I have a list of habits for each of my goals. Keeping track of these is good motivation for me, so I’ve set up tracking in a iPhone app. I love being able to tick off the things that I have achieved each day and at the end of the week or month see how I’m doing. There are other factors, such as having a coach, accountability, a support group that all help us to achieve our goals, but the bottom line is that we have to be committed to it ourselves.
It might be helpful to you for me to give an example of one of my goals and the process I went through. In relation to wellness I have goals in the four areas: eat, sleep, move and think. Let’s take sleep as it’s probably the simplest.
My goal: To be consistently getting a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night by the end of January, with at least one and a half of those hours being before mid-night. (That’s a S.M.A.R.T. goal.)
Next step……ask `What’s the current situation?‘ Since daylight saving started I’ve found myself staying up later and later as I really enjoy the light evenings. Then when it’s light early in the morning I’m awake much earlier and not getting the good 8 hours sleep that I know my body needs to thrive. That’s not theory. I know that for me it’s at least 8 hours, and in the winter it’s more.
Then…..`What am I doing that has caused this situation?’ This turned out to be a long list including…..working later (taking advantage of the sunlight to get caught up on things around the house and garden), having dinner later, reading late – usually on the computer or iPad, listening to informational podcasts after going to bed – so the brain is active instead of getting ready for sleep.
THEN….`What would I need to do differently in order to achieve my goal?‘ (These are the habits to be established.) I decided….. leave work behind by 5.30pm, have dinner no later than 6.30pm, turn off the computer (or other screens) by 8.30pm, listen to, or read, only relaxing things after 8.30pm, get to bed no later than 10.15pm ready for sleep.
None of this is rocket science. It just requires us to DO IT!!!!
I’m sure that you have things that you want to achieve in the area of health and well-being this month or this year. Why not spend some time and write down those goals. The write down the habits that will get you to your goals. What would you need to do differently each day to get what you want?
If you’d like some help with this feel free to ask in the comments section, or email us.