New Year’s Resolutions… love ‘em or hate ‘em, they do represent an important step towards improving yourself! Goal setting (not just when the new year begins, but all year round) is important when you want to make changes, and resolutions are really just goals with a fancy name!
There seems to be so much more pressure around goals set at New Years, so why not take the stress out of it and plan to regularly set goals throughout the year? This might seem even worse (who wants to be held to resolutions all year round???), but setting frequent goals can help you achieve them much faster and gives you more chances to succeed.
Doing it Right
When setting goals, there are a few things you should do to make them effective. Include a measurable end point, with a specific timeline, and choose goals that are realistic. For example, if your goal is “to lose weight,” how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? “I want to lose 100 pounds in 2 months” is not realistic and just sets you up for failure. Try something like “I want to lose 20 pounds over the next six months.” This is a healthy, realistic amount that gives you a specific amount of weight and a specific time to do it in. This way you can easily see if you achieved it or not, and stay on track because you can see how close you are to completing it.
If you don’t want to focus on your weight but still want to be healthier, instead of “I want to be healthy,” try adding in specific habits or routines that will lead to a healthier life. “I will go walking for 20 minutes each day and go to Pilates (!!) twice a week for the next 3 months” are realistic, specific behaviours so that you can easily see whether you’re meeting your goals or not.
Setting small and large and short and long-term goals are all important. Smaller, short-term goals (eg “I will take the stairs instead of the elevator every day at work”) can help you work towards a larger goal like weight loss, but are more regular and more easily achievable. These process goals are important in helping you stay motivated and on track!
Start Small for Lasting Change
Another really important part of making lasting change in your life is starting small and building on your successes. Even though you might have lots of things you want to change, trying to do them all at once will be overwhelming and this all or nothing approach will mean that you will probably give up on everything because you can’t do it all. Does that sound familiar? I think most of us have probably attempted this at some point! Try starting with one change for a week or two, and once you’re able to maintain that, add another. This way, after a few months you’ll have made lots of changes, but by doing it a little at a time you might not even notice!
Remember to Celebrate!
It’s so important to celebrate your success! Try to find rewards that won’t sabotage your efforts – if you’re trying to lose weight, going out for dinner might not be the best choice! You can plan a healthy activity like going on a ski trip (providing there’s snow at the hill of course), or do something that directly celebrates your journey and go shopping to buy some new clothes for the body you’re working so hard on! One of my favorite rewards is shopping for new workout clothes – I get to shop, and I also get things that will motivate me to exercise even more! Remember to reward yourself along the way for the little successes you have, not just when you achieve a large, long-term goal. Every little bit counts!
We’re here for you! Always feel free to ask us questions about being healthy! Pilates is a great way to focus on your mental and physical health and if you’re not already coming, now is a great time to start!