Are you setting goals and resolutions for 2019? Is motivation carrying you into the New Year?
This can be great.
However, each year millions set New Year’s Resolutions and only a small percentage are still working toward them by the end of January.
This year, focus on real change and habits. Lose the motivation and rewire your brain for success.
Many people set the same goals year after year.
When these resolutions don’t come to fruition, they feel like failures.
But maybe, the issue is with the goal or resolution. Maybe it’s setting them up for failure.
Before embarking on 2019’s goals and resolutions, take some time to process last year. Start by using our positive reflection guide.
It will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
You’ll have a fresh perspective and clean slate for this year.
Goals are often big-picture ideas. Lose 20 pounds. Complete a 5K race. Or, save up for a trip abroad.
This is a great place to start. But, a horrible place to stop.
Once you’ve listed your top 3 big goals for the year, it’s imperative to take the next step and list 1-3 habits that you’ll use to achieve these goals.
For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, 3 habits might be:
Goals are great, but habits are really what affect change.
Re-read the 3 example habit resolutions above. Notice that they are all actions that you can choose to do each day or week.
Now, take a look at this common goal:
Lose 1 pound per week.
Is this an actionable statement? Only sort-of; it’s more an indirect result of other actions.
Is it in your control? No. You cannot control what number appears on a scale. But, you can control the habits it will take to make it move.
Focus on these.
If you’re relying on motivation, you’re building on quicksand. It will fail you. You may be able to keep this emotion up for a few weeks, but it will not last.
Like most emotions, it will wax and wane.
Instead, rewire your brain and create habits and discipline.
It starts with a new strategy.
Try the 5-Second Rule. It was created by Mel Robbins, and it is simple. When forming a new habit, count down in your head, “5-4-3-2-1.” Then do it. That’s it. Do it over and over.
It’s not a magic bullet, but it works. You can read more about it in her book or online.
Of course, there are still times you won’t follow-through. It takes time to truly build a habit and discipline.
Consequences can help.
Make sure these are still in fun, and not too negative.
Two that work well are:
Consequences need to be positive as well.
Your focus multiplies.
If you focus on the negative, you get more of the negative. If you focus on the positive, more of the positive.
Examples of celebrations are:
When you meet a goal, celebrate with a consequence that you enjoy AND supports it.
A good friend can really help you make habits stick.
If they are interested in forming the same habits, they can be great cooking, exercise, or savings partners.
Or, they can be accountability partners as long as they support you and take the goal seriously. Perhaps, set up a check-in schedule of 3 times per week.
If you don’t have people like this in your life, look for local or online groups such as Keto Groups, Exercise Groups, and more.
Of note, I do not recommend spouses as accountability partners typically. While they can be great action partners, it’s tough for a spouse to provide the tough love needed for true accountability.
Look back at the big picture goals you set.
Are they adventurous? Inspirational? Exciting?
If not, consider rethinking them. They can still lead to the same type of outcome, but the more they excite you, the more you’re likely to accomplish them.
For example, maybe you want to get in better running shape. So, you decided to set a goal of running a 5K.
However, running a race isn’t anything you really want to do. It doesn’t excite you.
Perhaps a tough hike, like to the top of a local mountain or in a destination like the Grand Canyon does excite you. Or, participating in a local sports league.
Set this as a goal instead and work throughout the year to get in shape for it.
Study after study shows that the more fun and rewarding an exercise activity, the more likely participants will stick with it (1).
Most of us are too busy already.
Don’t let your goals just make you busier and add stress.
Instead, for every goal you’ve written, get rid of something that drags you down.
This is really the crux. Without God, the worries and troubles of this life can overwhelm and stomp out any spark of hope.
With Christ, all things within His Will are possible.
While setting goals, pray through them. Honor God with your health goals.
Thank God for the opportunity to make the upcoming year great.
This year, you can form action-based habits and achieve your goals. And best of all, they can add joy, gratitude and adventure to your life.