Resolutions? Give it up! Goals? That’s more like it!

by Patricia on

The ancient habit of New Year Resolutions, starting a new year with intentions for creating a better life, makes all kinds of sense. We need to have a idea of what we want to create (goal), we must believe it is possible to accomplish (or don’t even bother, you’ll just end up with more evidence of how ineffective you are), and we must have desire/emotion to move us into action.

Yet most New Year Resolutions fail. They aren’t practical, realistic, or believable and there is no plan of action to follow. This is like thinking “I’d like to go to a party”, and then getting in your car and driving around the city hoping you’ll spot a party going on that you can crash!

For many, the motivation behind the resolutions is also an issue. Feeling guilty because we ate too much over the last month, we make weight loss or exercise resolutions. Focused on what we don’t want, beating ourselves up for what we did or didn’t do doesn’t positively motivate most people to take action. (Curiously, there are a some folks out there who actually are more motivated when moving away from something, usually pain. These folks usually don’t take action until it is really, really bad – hitting bottom as they say in Anonymous [AA, NA, etc] groups).

Rather than recount more evidence as to why resolutions tend to fail, let’s take a look at what will help you succeed.

1) Choose one or two areas of your life where you would like things to be different.
2) Identify how you would like it to be – create a strong, sensory specific image/awareness of what you want to have happen, include descriptors that are active, alive, full of energy and positivity.
3) Write a simple goal, that states the condition you want to achieve, i.e. I now have a healthy body and lifestyle. Each time you repeat the goal, you are stating it in present tense, as already manifest in your life.
4) Create simple steps toward that goal, one for each month. Give yourself time to practice new behaviors and integrate them into your life, i.e. This month I will eat healthy, without sugar. This month I will eat one piece of fruit every day. This month I will walk 10 minutes a day. If your goals are too complicated or too different from your current habits, it will be too difficult to integrate them into your life and you will fail. There is no shame in starting small – it is how we learn everything, small steps that become habits. So build a plan for the year, starting small, building toward your goal.
5) Acknowledge your successes. Track your actions in a notebook. If you find that you aren’t following through, re-assess your plan and find a more basic step to integrate.

These are just a few of the guidelines for successful goal setting. Join us at Getting What You Really Want on January 20, 2011 at the Center for Creative Learning and get more info on how to create the life you want through practical goal setting. See you there!

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: