As the new year rapidly approaches, we’re suddenly haunted by our looming New Year’s Resolutions. Whereas a month ago we were eager for the first of January so we could start tackling our new goals, now it seems more daunting. Will this be the year that we finally achieve our resolutions or will we give up after the first week like we have done the last five years? Let’s conquer our 2018 resolutions together this year. In this week’s post, I will be telling you the foolproof ways to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions while supplying you with the tools and motivation to get there.
In this week’s blog, I will be introducing you to the best strategies that will help you effectively achieve your 2018 resolutions. I understand what it’s like to set a goal for yourself and then not be able to achieve it. That’s why, this year, I will be following my own advice for once and working with you to complete our New Year’s Resolutions. It’s going to be challenging but the tips and supplies that I am offering to you today will aid you in your journey to success.
I would like to preface with this: these tips and materials don’t just pertain to New Year’s Resolutions. You can use these resources whenever you’d like, for whatever goal you’d like. I tried to make these as flexible as possible so that they can be used for literally anything, and they’re free for you to use.
At the end of this blog, you will find two downloadable PDFs that will help you on your journey. The first is a packet that will help you outline your goal and track your progress and achievements. The second is a companion guide to help you use the packet. These, paired with this blog, should be of use to you, or anyone, looking to make a change in their life. I, too, will be using this packet to track my fitness and weight loss over the next year, so you won’t be alone in using it. We can track our achievements together over the course of 2018.
Before diving into the packet, though, I’d like to introduce you to some important guidelines to follow when setting goals for yourself.
Set goals that motivate you.
Motivation is the key to success — even the most mundane of tasks require motivation. In order to achieve something that you want, you have to be motivated also. Motivation comes in many forms, but there are two basic forms of motivation that I’d like to talk about today. Extrinsic motivation is influenced by outside factors such as friends, family, society, etc. For example, I am aiming to lose weight in 2018. Part of this could be extrinsically motivated since society expects women to be thin and fit. I am, however, also intrinsically motivated, meaning that I want to lose weight for myself: I have internal factors encouraging me to achieve my goal.
The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is simple: since intrinsic motivation is influenced by your own self, it is more effective in overall helping you achieve your goals — it’s something you actually want to do for yourself. Extrinsic motivation is definitely a factor that can encourage you to meet whatever standard you’ve set, but intrinsic motivation is the sole driving force that keeps you going. To make a change in your life, you have to want to do it. This is why intrinsic motivation is so important. So whatever you’re wanting to do, make sure that you want to do it, or else it’s going to be considerably more challenging to meet your goal.
Of course you can motivate yourself along the way with extrinsic things. After a hard workout you can reward yourself with a latte, for instance. But the drive to actually get you to the gym comes from within. You have to tell yourself that you want to do it.
Hold yourself accountable.
Accountability is also important in meeting your set goals. You need to decide on a way to track your activity from start to finish while you work on reaching your goal. This accountability can be represented by a friend or a family member, but it can also be a more personal form, like the packet I’ve created for you. Writing down your achievements and setbacks and keeping notes of your activity will not only motivate you to continue working on your goal, but they will also help you to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far. By letting someone know about your goal, they can also hold you accountable for your actions, checking up with your progress every once and a while.
In this case, I am holding you accountable for making sure I keep up with my New Year’s Resolution. Check in with me from time-to-time. Ask me how my weight loss and fitness routine is going. I’ll be happy to do the same with you. Together, we can work in our packets holding ourselves accountable while also checking in with each other to make sure we’re on top of things.
Make a plan… in writing.
Nothing is going to happen if you don’t act on it first. Your first assignment: write it down. This is a huge step in achieving any goal. Grab a piece of paper, a napkin, or my handy packet (*wink, wink*) and start writing out your specific intentions and the steps you need to take to reach those set intentions. Writing it down actually makes it easier: you now have a step-by-step formula that you can mindlessly follow for however long you need to. It’s the first step in creating a routine for yourself, and a routine makes everything so much simpler.
Set SMART goals.
If I learned anything in my yoga class this last semester, it was all about SMART goals. These goals don’t just pertain to fitness either — they apply to anything you’re wanting to effectively achieve. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Let’s walk through each section.
You need to start with a specific goal. For me, “losing weight,” isn’t enough. Anyone can say they’re going to lose weight, but how do I want to lose weight? When do I want to lose weight? How much weight do I want to lose? Questions like these need to be considered when setting your specific goal. You need to set something that can’t be easily bent or broken. You’ll find that the rest of the foundation behind SMART goals relies on specificity.
Your goal also needs to be measurable. Like I said, “losing weight,” isn’t enough. How many pounds do I want to lose? Or, better yet, how many days a week do I want to go to the gym to work on weight loss? Or both? You need to develop a measurable standard that you hold yourself to when working towards your goal. It doesn’t have to be high pressure either, and it can change over time. I could start with a goal of going to the gym twice a week, but I can double that goal within a few weeks of working on my resolution. Or, if I find that I won’t be able to meet my weight loss goal in time, I can change it to a more realistic number — just be careful with stuff like this, because you don’t want to be bending your own rules too much.
On a similar note, your goals need to be attainable. I want to lose a significant amount of weight by September, but I’m not sure if I can healthily lose all that I want by then. I need to research into how long it might take me to get to my ideal weight. This way I can set an attainable number to meet by my ideal date. Make sure you’re not setting something too hard but, on the flip side, make sure you’re challenging yourself too (because that’s how we build character, after all).
Goals also need to be relevant. This is fairly simple assuming that any goal you set for yourself already holds relevancy in your life. For me, I’ve been wanting to lose weight for years, but now that I’m going to be in my best friend’s wedding, I have an added pressure and relevancy to get back in shape. This is where, for me, both extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation work together: I want to lose weight for myself, but I have an added force encouraging me to lose it. Basically, just make sure you’re not making up goals out of thin air that may not apply to you or your life.
Finally, your goal needs to be time-bound. You need to have a set time that you want to achieve your goal by. For me, that time-frame is by September or, more specifically, by Labor Day Weekend or, more specifically than that, by my friend’s wedding date. Having a set time that I can’t stray from is an added form of motivation that will help me reach my goal. Set a time that you can’t change very easily. Want to pay off your small credit card debt? Try and have it done by Tax Day, for instance.
SMART goals are what build the basis of my packet, linked below. In “The 2018 Resolution Achievement Packet,” you’ll find multiple sections that will walk you through creating your goal and specifying what you want to achieve. I have then included twelve months of “progress pages” where you can track your progress and take notes. I have also included inspirational quotes, tips for creating and achieving goals, and more. You’re welcome to download the packet to use for whatever goal you have, and you can use it any time of year!
The packet’s simplistic design is easy to follow and useable to your own liking, but it’s still structural enough to aid you in your resolution achieving. We can use the packet together, too, holding ourselves accountable for meeting our goals. I’d love to see your packets in use as you’re creating your goal and working on it throughout 2018. You’re welcome to tweet me pictures or send me a personal message on Facebook. If neither of those work for you, you can also email me any questions or updates.
I hope that this post has been beneficial in helping you set your New Year’s Resolutions and kick-start a productive year. To download the packet and its companion guide, click the links below:
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