Let’s be clear. I’m not special in any way – if I can do this, anyone can. I absolutely mean that. I’ve spent years helping people meet their fitness goals and, through trial and error, found out what works and what doesn’t. Find 30 minutes to sit down and reflect on you, and what you want in life. Then follow these 7 steps to get it.
1. Be sure you made the right resolution. It better be important to you, not important to someone else, or what you think you should do, or pulled from a list of suggested resolutions. You. What is the thing that means the most to you? If you want to lose weight, why? Because you kind of have a vague feeling you should? Or is it because your weight is holding you back from the things you want to do? Because you have kids or grandkids you desperately want to play with/see graduate/get married and you’re too tired/in poor health? Make an important resolution that means the world to you.
2. Write it down. This is a repeat suggestion from yesterday, but I cannot stress it enough. Write it in a notebook. Write it in your calendar. Write it on a post-it note you keep in your underwear drawer. Write it down a couple times, in a couple places. Mid-year goal change? Fine, update and write it down again.
3. Think about it. A LOT. Dwell on your resolution. As you’re going to sleep each night, think about what you want to accomplish and why. Let yourself imagine the feelings of joy when you reach your goal. Spend a few minutes envisioning your new life with this goal met. I like to do this before I go to sleep because brains work on solving problems and making things a reality while we’re at rest. Brains are awesome.
4. Pick one thing each day that will move you toward your goal and do it. Eventually you may want more tasks, but start with one. One little thing that gets you to your goal, every day. Resolutions are not about looking back, so we’re not going to berate ourselves for the things we didn’t do yesterday, we’re going to find a to-do that moves us forward today.
5. Celebrate and give yourself full credit for doing little things. I like big goals, and I like to imagine accomplishing them, and the importance of establishing an emotional link to that goal cannot be overstated. However, a big goal is really just the accumulation of a bunch of little goals. So when you get your task done each day (the one from Step 4), congratulate yourself. I keep a to-do list and reward myself with checking off the items, or crossing them out. I think celebrating little things is so important that sometimes I’ll add something to my list that I’ve already done so that I can have the joy of crossing it off. But that feeling of success carries us forward – a snowball effect of productivity!
6. Know that sometimes you will get off-track. And that’s okay. In fact, maybe better than okay. If you find that you’re not doing your daily task, take a look at yourself and figure out why. Has the importance of the goal diminished? Then take some time to refocus. Return to Step 3 and dwell on your goal. Or adjust your goal. This is allowed! Sometimes what was important changes, and new things become more important. You haven’t failed – you’ve adapted.
7. Understand the difference between “important” and “immediate.” I once saw a grid that divided up life into four categories: Important/Immediate, Not Important/Immediate, Important/Not Immediate, and Not Important/Not Immediate. My problem was I saw everything as Important/Immediate and felt constantly stressed out by going from one crisis to the next. We need to learn to prioritize, and to recognize that we can’t put our life goals into the “Not Important” category.
8. Repeat Steps 3 & 4. And repeat them again.