How are you progressing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you sticking to them completely, some of the time, not at all? What is it about making resolutions that causes us so much difficulty following through? What can we do to improve our chances for success?
When we make resolutions, we are setting goals. It is necessary to develop action plans in order to achieve change. When we set goals, we need to realize that achieving them is a process. We can’t get from point A to Point B without taking the necessary steps to get there.
Set “SMART Goals”
These are plans that are “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Attainable”, “Realistic” and
“Timely”. Write down specific goal statements; this will help reinforce your commitment to accomplishing them.
For example, if your desire is to lose weight, state that you will exercise three days a week at your gym in order to lose five pounds in February. This statement makes your achievement measureable. It is also more attainable and realistic than expecting to lose twenty pounds in one month. This statement defines the time-line in which you hope to accomplish the goal. If we break tasks down into smaller, more attainable pieces, we see our results more readily, thus achieving the instant gratification we often need. Once a small goal is achieved, we will have the confidence to set another goal and repeat the process.
Work on Positive Self-Talk
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it to the gym one day. Tell yourself you
made it the first day this week or three days last week. Then commit to going tomorrow.
Ask for Support
Tell someone you trust about your plan. Arrange to exercise with someone else. Find someone to talk with daily or weekly. If we ask others for support, we receive encouragement, hold ourselves accountable and feel less stressed. Setting and accomplishing goals is easier to write and read about than to do in reality. Sometimes we need a little help from friends or even confidential counselors.
For more information on this and other self-help topics, check out www.dsflemingcc.com.
Originally published in Open Doors of Rose City Park United Methodist Church.