So here we are, mid-January. Statistically, most of us have already broken our resolution and fallen off the wagon..back to our bad habits and lazy ways. For those that are still hanging on and trying to improve your life, kudos, yet I know it may come at a cost- to your self-esteem. You can actually set a goal, achieve it and feel great, if you follow a strategy for doing so.

So often, we set goals for ourselves and instead of letting the excitement of what our lives will be like when we reach that goal, we beat ourselves up and negatively coerce ourselves with threatening self-talk or thoughts. The difference between the two ways of achieving: power versus force. In the scenario where you set a goal or resolution and positively emotionalize it, you are creating a force that excites you, conjures up some universal magic and that energy motivates you and pulls you forward. Whereas in the scenario that you use negative self-talk or threats (if I don’t lose 20 pounds by May, I’m not going on that cruise), you are not creating a motivating or supportive force, you’re creating fear, lack, scarcity and negativity – and no one wants to do anything under those circumstances.

How to win at setting resolutions:

  1. Set a goal for something you want, badly, and something that is reasonably attainable, though still a stretch. A person who has smoked cigarettes for 20 years, is probably not going to be able to quit in 2 weeks in a manner that is healthy and easeful on the body. Choose something that is very important to you, while giving yourself a challenge. If it’s too easy, it won’t motivate you; if it’s too hard, it will actually de-motivate and overwhelm you.
  2. Set a date to accomplish your goal and schedule it out on your calendar. Setting a goal without a strategy is useless; while it may feel good, you won’t reach your goal without an action plan. Break the goal down into weekly then daily actions that, put together over time, will get you to your end goal.
  3. Take daily actions toward your goal. This is the most important part, once you’ve got your sight set on your goal, the strategy and timing is set, you must take action. Nothing happens without movement. You can have all the greatest ideas and goals in the world, but if you don’t take smart, planned daily action, nothing will change. And you deserve to reach your goal.
  4. Do end of week check-ins to make sure you’re on track and revise as necessary. Sometimes even the best-laid strategies don’t work out. Things change, situations get altered, so don’t wait until the end of your goal period to check in on how things are going. At the end of each week, look at your overall goal and the weekly timing you set up in your calendar. If you need to tweak the daily or weekly tasks, do it. It’s better to push out your tasks or even goals by a little bit, then to give up on it completely. Stay in the game.  
  5. Acknowledge yourself for the progress you’ve made. This is the most important part, in my opinion. Most people are very hard on and aggressive with themselves. They set goals or achieve something important to them, then just move on to the next thing- setting up a state of perpetual “doing” and striving, yet seldom acknowledging how far they’ve gone and what greatness they’ve already seen and attained. Reward yourself when you do something great. Lost 5 pounds, go for a walk and get a fro-yo with a friend. Quit smoking for a week, see a movie at the fancy theater. When you reward and acknowledge yourself, you’re more apt to have the stamina and motivation to keep going for the next thing.

If you want anything to change, you must decide that it cannot stay the same way that it already is. Once the decision has been made to improve your life, and you really get rooted in that change AND what your life will be like once that change is made, you’re well on your way to continually improving your life.

Make the decision, put the plan in place, continually take action and you’ll get there. Just remember, life’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes the progress will seem slower than you want, that’s ok, just keep taking steps forward and you’ll get there. Be proud of yourself, you’re doing something to move your life forward, you have the courage and confidence to improve your life. You are awesome!