Remember how excited you were just a month ago? You were ready to dominate all of your personal resolutions. It was time to get fit, to get your finances in order, and to finally take that trip you’ve been putting off. Believe it or not the year is already 8.3% of the way over. It’s time to check in: are you 8.3% closer to your resolutions?
If I had to guess, this is about the time that you start giving up. I’ve done the same thing over the past few years.
Photo by futureshape via Flickr
That’s when I realized I was doing it all wrong.
If setting and sticking to resolutions worked we would all be healthier, happier, and more successful. If resolutions worked the gym industry wouldn’t be overflowing with “resolutions dollars” every January.
In other words: resolutions are not effective.
Deep down we all know this. Putting up some vague ideas of what we want to accomplish this year won’t move our lives forward.
Heard of these before?
I bet you have set some of those yourself in the past. I know I have.
My resolutions were always to get healthier during the year. And I would come in with such conviction and energy to head toward that.
I would jump in with both feet first. I’d slap on my running shoes and some sweatpants in the dead of winter. I would go outside — into the shockingly cold weather — and start jogging. And I’d make it, slowly but surely, for about two weeks.
It’s about the two to four week range that the pain, cramps, and cold weather all combine to kill any idea of going forward. Motivation is shot. “Ah well, at least I tried…”
And then back to the couch.
This year I’m doing things differently, and I encourage you to do the same.
Instead of jumping in head first into an activity I haven’t done in ages I’m going to slowly break in new routines until they become habits.
I know I won’t run a marathon today or even next month. I won’t lift 300 pounds. Those can be long term goals. In the meantime I break down those long term goals into small, measurable, and achievable goals.
Instead of lifting 300 pounds, I dedicate my time to working a 3 day per week schedule doing light lifting to get into a routine. I’ll add weight as I go. Instead of running 10 miles on my first day I vow to run and walk for 30 minutes total only once per week.
Transform your resolutions into goals. Change your vague ideas of change into concrete deadlines on measurable items.
Don’t promise to save money for your emergency fund. Instead set a goal of $6,000 by the end of the year and calculate how much it will take you every month to get there. Your $6,000 savings goals is my 300 pound lifting goal. It seems unachievable if you try to tackle that number from the beginning.
But, if you break things down you’ll take a huge and potentially overwhelming number like $6,000 and break it into $500 monthly goals. That seems a lot more achievable.
This week dedicate some time to changing resolutions into actionable goals. Isn’t it worth it?