New Year’s Resolutions – in theory, a great idea. I mean, who doesn’t want to hit the reset button on their life every once in a while? Fresh start, clean slate, another shot? Sure! Sign me up! Most of us typically start off a new year with high hopes and aspirations – I’m going to lose 20 pounds; I’m going to start exercising; I’m going to start eating healthier; I’m going to run a marathon; I am going to start meditating. The list goes on and on. But 3 weeks in, reality sinks in and you think, ugh, this isn’t working…this is too hard, I don’t have enough time, I’ll never change, it’s too much work, I don’t really need to change anyway. So, resolutions all of a sudden are not so great. The novelty wears off and we are left feeling defeated. There is, obviously, a flaw with resolutions that most people often overlook. We tend to get so hung up on the “newness” of a new year and set goals and aspirations that are way too high and ultimately too hard to achieve.
So how can we avoid this pitfall?
First is the fact that we commonly don’t take the time to really think about what it is that we TRULY want and need. We customarily focus so much on our physical self and base all of our goals on that. But what about our emotional self, our intellectual, spiritual and social self? We are so much more that just our physicality and we can easily lose sight of the rest of what makes us, well, ourselves. When we take the time to reflect on what else we need to do to improve upon all aspects of self, the goals that we set will be more well-rounded and in turn will provide us with what we need in order to reach our ultimate goal, which is more often than not, to be well. Creating a Wellness Vision can help to determine what it is you need in terms of your total wellness. Envision yourself a year from now. Ask yourself questions, such as “Who do I want to be? What results do I want to achieve? Why does this matter to me? What strengths can I draw on to get me to where I want to be? What challenges will I overcome? What support will I put in place?” By writing a vision, you will clearly see what your goals should be and then you can more easily break them down into smaller, yet realistic, action items that are sure to be achievable.
Another way to avoid falling into the New Year Resolution abyss is to think about and identify specific actions and behaviors in working towards your vision. Most people typically set goals that are too big or lofty. It is important to understand that it is harder to climb a whole mountain on your first try than to climb with stops along the way to reaching the top. Look at your vision and break it down into 3-month goals, monthly goals and weekly goals. And most importantly, it is imperative to make each goal a SMART goal. And by SMART, I mean, Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-bound. Without these attributes, the chances of reaching a goal are significantly less than if the goals are SMART. For example, rather than setting a goal to eat healthier snacks, set the goal to make a grocery list and shop every Sunday for 2-3 options for healthy snacks for each day at work. The snacks will be fruit, yogurt or a healthy portion of nuts. Another example: rather than setting a goal of going to the gym more often, the goal can be to schedule yourself for a group training class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:00 and for a Yoga class on Thursdays at 7:00.
Together with our Wellness Vision, our SMART goals and our resolve to better ourselves, we can begin to live a happier, healthier life. Starting small and working your way up will set you up for creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime. No more making resolutions that hold no value and that aren’t set up with a specific action plan. Make 2018 your year to become that percent of people who stick with their plans and succeed!
Mary Pergola, a Certified Wellness Coach at Release Well-Being Center
Looking for some help getting started with creating your own Wellness Vision and goal setting? Need someone to whom you can be held accountable? Contact Mary Pergola, a Certified Wellness Coach, to set up a coaching session today!