When I was younger, I loved the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. A rebirthing of myself seemed so exciting and romantic to me. I was going to be this new person that would shed the bad habits of the previous year and let go of anything holding me back.
My goals would usually involve something around exercise and money. And just like most people, I would start out strong in January. And then by May, those goals had been long abandoned.
This story sound familiar to you? No, just me?!
The problem with resolutions is that most of us make a goal that is way too vague and don’t think through the strategies that need to be set in place to be successful.
What were your resolutions last year? Eat healthier. Lose 10 pounds. Go to the gym every day. Sound familiar? I’ve made these same resolutions before and not shocking, I never kept them for more than 2-3 weeks.
If you have struggled in this past, how do you make this year different? Are you still going strong, or already finding it hard to maintain those goals? What should you do differently?
SET UP A SPECIFIC STRATEGY
The main reason goals fail is that you are not examining what else needs to change in your life in order for that goal to be carried out successfully. If you want to go to the gym every day, what time will you go on the days you work? If you want to eat healthier, how will you make that change when you are tired, travelling, etc?
Failing to set up strategies will set you up to never reach your end goal.
What goal did you set for 2018? With that goal in mind, think about the toughest situation that will come up that would interfere with you achieving this goal. What roadblocks or problems do you usually run into? Have you already ran into them?
When those situations come up, what systems do you need set up to be successful? Since this blog is geared towards exercise and movement, let’s go with the most popular resolution of working out more and/or losing weight.
Going to the gym every day is such a vague, unrealistic goal to set. But let’s take this goal and break it down to some strategies you can implement in your life.
How many days per week do you want to work out? Be very specific and intentional with this. If you hate working out on the weekends, then set the strategy of working out four days (or whatever number of days that is realistic for your schedule) during the week.
What time of day will you work out at? If you despise morning workouts, then plan for your workouts to be in the evenings. When I say plan, I mean like actually put it in your schedule at a specific time. Make a date with yourself. Set a timer 15 minutes before.
If you have exercise after work, make sure your clothes and gear are already in your car. Then you won’t be tempted to head home and most likely stay there instead. You gotta set yourself up for success here.
Be honest with yourself in setting up your strategies, too. If you know what situations usually derail your goals, have your strategies in place for those exact situations. Or maybe you’ve never really sat down and thought about where you get tripped up.
I have been working over 70 hours per week for the last three months. It has made working out regularly very hard. And on the days that I do hair, I stand for over 11 hours. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that I am going to work out on those days. If I tried, it would probably cause more harm than good to my body.
Because I do hair three days a week, that means there are only four days per week that I can and realistically will work out.
So, I will never set the goal to work out every day. Its. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.
If I get even more honest here, I know that I cannot work out in the morning. My body feels terrible at that time of day. I feel weak and nauseous when I try it. I also know that working out feels great after a long day at the office. It really helps to decompress any leftover stress from the day and burn it off.
But…. If I go home from work first, surprise surprise… I won’t make it to the gym. So, my clothes and gym bag go in my car in the morning before I leave for work. When work is done, I head straight to the gym near the office. As an added bonus, traffic dies down during my workout and the commute home is way better because I waited till its later in the evening. Win win situation.
Multiple strategies have to be set up for me to achieve the ultimate goal of working out 4 days per week. Those strategies have to be set up in ways that will make me successful when it is really hard to stick to my end goal.
NOW, LET’S TURN THIS UP A NOTCH
The above method works great for setting up new routines in your life. But, what if you want to go the opposite way for a goal and stop doing something?
I have a problem that I am well aware of. When I am feeling stressed, sad, or just plain blah, I usually go shopping to make myself feel better. Retail therapy is my favorite vice. But I know there are better ways to resolve those feelings. And the shopping is only a short-term fix to these feelings I am struggling with internally. Clothes and stuff will never really fix what is going on inside me.
An external fix, like new clothes, will never be able to address what is going on internally for me. And even worse, this problem has always always interfered with my goal of saving money and paying off debt.
Setting a goal of saving money and not shopping anymore is, again, unrealistic and not gonna happen for me. But setting up strategies that keep me accountable will work.
I had to get very specific with my strategies for this goal. I have set a budget of $200 per month for spending of any kind for things that don’t fall under normal bills of rent, gas, food, etc.
That money can go towards clothes, makeup, beauty products, date night, house items. Anything that is not an absolute necessity.
That is a dollar amount that is realistic for me to not feel deprived, but still be able to save a lot. The amount for you to set aside may be different.
LEVERAGE GOALS & STRATEGIES
So, I have my two goals with strategies set up. Here is where I like to kick things up a notch. I am going to leverage the two goals against each other.
How? If I want to go shopping, I have to stick to my 4-day workout strategy before I can spend a cent. This added layer of strategy accomplishes SO many great things, it’s kind of insane.
- If I have to wait four days to go shopping, it gives me enough time to really think over how badly I want to buy something. I will be way less likely to emotionally spend money.
- Working out when I am feeling blah is way better therapy than buying stuff that I probably don’t need.
- Working out makes me feel so much better internally that I also feel better in the clothes that I already own.
- If I really, really want to buy something, I am that much more motivated to work out.
- If I don’t work out, I will save even more money!
Multiple layers of strategies to set myself up for success. But it’s not like these strategies are super difficult or impossible to implement. All they are, are minor lifestyle tweaks.
Major sweeping changes in your life are hard to sustain. But minor tweaks. That’s where true success lies, especially if your life is already super busy.
To be more successful from this point forward, get very specific about the strategies you will use to accomplish your goals.
Think about anything in the past that has interfered with your goals, and then set up strategies for those situations.
I hope that from this day forward, you can make minor tweaks in your life. And on December 31, 2018 you can look back and know that you made radical but sustainable changes in your life.
this post contains affiliate links. all opinions are my own
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