Do you tend to start off the year with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about what you want to change or improve, only to find your motivation waning by February (or sooner)?
If this sounds familiar, you might think it's lack of motivation, willpower or desire that's the problem.
When in fact, it may be the goals you've set and how you approach them that creates the real challenge. Especially if you’re picking goals that are so big and broad that you're setting yourself up to feel frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed not long after you start.
The truth is it's not uncommon. Especially after years of listening to diet culture telling us how "easy" it is to make big sweeping changes, telling us we have to go all in if we want results.
That's why I created this short list of six tips to help you create simple and realistic goals with real clarity around what you want, so you can set a course for meaningful progress and ultimately success!
Keep things simple
Do you tend to come up with a fairly long list of new year goals? This could be a big part of the reason why you struggle to see them through. Spreading yourself too thin between a bunch of different goals is one of the main reasons why people fail when making New Year resolutions.
To increase your chances of success, don’t try and overhaul everything in your life at once, setting all kinds of personal and professional goals simultaneously. Chances are, you’ll quickly feel frustrated, burnt out and overwhelmed when you realize you can't make real traction in multiple places at once.
Instead, you’re increase your odds of success when you concentrate your efforts on just one or two small goals, and stay focused there. Start by picking your one big goal, such as losing weight or improving your fitness. The big goal is going to take consistent effort over time to achieve, requiring small daily acts that use your time, energy, and focus.
You’re less likely to feel challenged by willpower if you set realistic goals with small steps that outline the how, what and when of making it happen. Learn to focus on one thing at a time, whether it's your food or your fitness, so you can begin to discover what works well (and what doesn't), set realistic expectations, and gain confidence through repetition.
Set bite size goals
Knowing your big goal is great, setting a bunch of mini goals along the way is even better.
Those bite size goals will help you gain traction, build momentum and boost your confidence as you work toward the big goal.
Have 30 pounds to lose? Set three 10 pound mini goals. Each time you reach your mini milestone, you'll celebrate progress, boost confidence in your abilities and gain momentum making it easier to show up for yourself.
Setting mini goals also enables you to see what is working well and where you can make some adjustments to best support your goals.
From food to fitness, and sleep to mindful practice, you can set all kinds of mini goals to support your big goal. The key is to start with one. Trying to tackle your food, fitness, sleep and mindful practice all at once is a recipe for burnout and overwhelm. Your mini goal should feel simple, realistic and doable!
You don’t need to wait until you reach your goal to celebrate. The great thing about mini goals is they provide you with the opportunity to acknowledge and reward progress made all along the way, which creates a natural incentive to keep you going.
Just be sure your "reward" is not something that will sabotage your efforts. For example, if your goal is to eat better, ordering a big old pizza and downing a tub of ice cream is probably not the best reward for making healthy choices.
Think of some fun and meaningful things you can do to honor and reward your progress that still supports your goals. Maybe it's getting your favorite fun coffee, scheduling a manicure, or purchasing a new pair of shoes?
Write it down
Writing down your goals and keeping them somewhere in plain view will keep it top of mind and hold you accountable. When you see it regularly, you foster motivation and remind yourself WHY you started the journey in the first place. You’ll feel more connected to the habits you're working to create and are far more likely to show up for yourself and honor your commitments.
Whether it's writing it down in your day planner, scheduling reminders on your phone or having post it notes where you'll see them each day, having those daily reminders is keeping your goal front and center.
And putting pen to paper in daily acts such as journaling, writing out mantras or positive affirmations, has been shown to help raise awareness, offer valuable insights and relieve the impacts of daily stress, helping you stay focused on what you really want so you can find more reasons to make it happen, which leads to less self-sabotage.
Affirmations are another powerful tool that can help you to stick to your new year goals. Writing your positive statement down and repeating it daily is a simple yet powerful way to encourage your mind to hold belief for you, boost your confidence and strengthen your resolves.
And affirmations don’t need to be complicated or long. In fact, short and simple work best. Depending on your goal, an affirmation might be something like, “I stay calm under pressure” (if you’ve resolved to reduce daily stress), or “I eat better to feel better” (if eating better is your goal), or "I am healthy, strong and able" (if you're focus is on healthy habits that help you eat, think and feel your best).
Whatever you choose to say to yourself, the key is to make it regular habit. It's not what you do sometimes but MOST times that matters. The fastest way to reinforce new habits is through consistency.
Realize stumbles happen
A new goal often requires focus, time and energy toward creating new habits and will not come without stumbles or setbacks. That's NORMAL. But the truth is, most people don't plan for them.
It’s not realistic to think that it’s all going to be smooth sailing when you’re making changes to your day-to-day routine, working to unwind years of diet drama, unhealthy patterns and false narratives.
When you encounter a setback on your journey, it’s not a sign of failure, proof that you'll never figure it out, or a reason to give up on your goals. It's simply a part of learning, growing and evolving!
We ALL have setbacks. Learning how to handle setbacks is key to your long term success. Which is why I encourage my clients to get curious, not critical. Why did it happen? What can you can learn from it? And what are some steps you can take to have it happen less in the future? The goal is progress, not perfection.
THE 3 MISTAKES WOMEN MAKE WHEN SETTING A WEIGHT LOSS GOAL:
Setting unrealistic goals
Failing to identify real progress
Lacking a simple, realistic and doable plan
Want to learn how to avoid them? Get my special guide: The 4-Step Proven Formula To Crush Your Weight Loss Goals, and I'll show you how.