I am continually asking myself why this is? It's integral to my practice. When smart people set health and wellness goals (top pick for new years resolutions), why is there such a small success rate?
Are they poor planners? Is there a cultural acceptance of failing to achieve these resolution? Are people lacking the will power? Is there need for extra support? Was it truly a goal of theirs? The last question being the most important to ask yourself when setting goals; “is it my true goal?” and the first being right up there in priority of success; “Have I planned well?”
Others play a role along the way, realizing that willpower is not an innate gift, but studies show that it can be learned, and when we practice it, we get better at it! As well as how to ask for support and help in times of need, super important for success of anything!
Most New Year resolutions start on January 1, but how many of us like to eat all the junk food so it's out of the house by the first.
Dates and timing are important to planning goals and lifestyle changes, but it's not the "big" start date that is most important! I suggest a slow start to any big change!! Go for a walk around just 1 block today! start by eating 1 healthy meal a day, today! start 1 minute of mindful meditation today, while you are mapping out your path to health. Don't fall into the pit of "I'll do it on Monday, or when I have everything prepared, or ...
All the dates or milestones along the way are so important to success. The ones that mark the progression of your journey in reaching whatever goals you set. They create feedback information for you to use and adjust with. They are the tasks on your “lists of things to do” that you feel great about when you get to scratch them out..I lovvveee scratching things of my lists...
In turn these are the supportive and positive feed backs loops you will need to keep inspired. To keep you on track, no matter what you set your mind to..
So what am I stressing when it comes to health and lifestyle goals?
“The Break Down”
Be your own best project manager! You do it at work, at home, with the kids, now do it for yourself! I admit, some people are incredibly good at this and others not so much,but are smart enough to seek outside help in this area. Know your strengths, and consider your worth. Decide when to look for expert advice to help you plan. If you are interested in some focused direction please visit our “service page” to see what might be right for you.
If you are still on track with your resolution, excellent! If you are hanging on but wavering, still excellent! Do some task planning and you will find yourself having more “on” days then “off”. If you have already slipped back into your comfortable routines, resolution be damned, don't worry, that's only a negative connection to your goal... Re-assess, do some planning, and get ready to continue your amazing journey to optimal health!
Here are some of my tips and strategies in planning your health and wellness goals.
It's all about the mini tasks! A whole goal is accomplished through a million mini tasks. When the goals are lifestyle or dietary changes, it is way easier to check off a million mini tasks that you can feel great about accomplishing, than dreading; how you are going to lose 30 lbs, start a gym routine, or learn how to meditate.
So there are quite a few ways of breaking goals down into mini tasks but this is the way I have found most successful for me and my clients.
- Set your big goals, visualize the end goal (extremely important), day dream about the achievement, really form the actuality of success in your mind.
- Decide how long you want to take to achieve this goal (this is really important so be realistic) a fast drop in weight is one on the worst things you can do for yourself metabolically. Starting out big in an exercise routine and injuring yourself can sabotage life long change. Start slow and build up steam.
- Grab a desk calendar, print some months off a template online, use your computer/phone calendar and mark the date you will accomplish your goal by. This sets your mind to stay on track with a deadline.
- Break your goal down into mini tasks ( this is also up there in importance because when you get to check these thing off as completed, you will be creating a positive feedback for your mind to want to continue). Make sure monthly tasks are broken down into weekly, into daily. (If you are one of those visual types, gather inspirational photos that you can stick throughout the calendar, they make little visual mantra, and I find them helpful in envisioning the end goal.
- Re-enforces these mini goals with healthy rewards! Lost 5 lbs out of the 30lb? Treat yourself to a pedicure, movie (bring your own treats) or what ever your heart believes to be a healthy good reward. Set realistic mini goal rewards! No you can't have ice cream bits every time you go for a walk!
- Most important step!!!!!! Journal about the process, whether it be a small note on the days of the calendar, or a dedicated book with 10 mins of attention before bed. This helps review progress.
- Assess your progress, hopefully being mostly positive, good days, task completed, yeay you! But it is also important to recognize the bad days? Why you might have broken down and gone straight home after work instead of walking or going to the gym?? What were the triggers? And can you avoid or at least recognize them when they appear again.
Now ask yourself, “what's next?”