In the first part of this series, I covered some of the reasons that we can find it hard to keep to our goals. In this second part (part 3 to follow) I cover some more of the ways that we can make it easier for ourselves to keep our goals and our New Years Resolutions.
- Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound) goals. An example this is “I will go walking for an hour (specific) every evening (measurable) starting tomorrow (timed). This should be attainable and realistic.
- To satisfy the need for the subconscious mind’s instant gratification, you can find something about your new behaviour that is immediately appealing. Perhaps you arrange to meet a friend when you are going for your new daily walk.
- Think about whether you are motivated most by moving towards something, or motivated by wanting to avoid something. For instance, are you motivated to stop smoking because you want to save money for a new house (towards) or because you want to stop your clothes smelling of cigarettes (avoiding). This will help you with the visualisation step below.
- Think of the benefits of the new behaviour, either what you want to move towards from step 3, or the opposite of what you wan to move away from (step 3), Use visualisation to make these benefits become real to you. Visualise the benefits using all of your five senses. If you want to lose weight, you could visualise going into a shop, and choosing a smaller size of clothing, or visualise how you well you will look in your swimwear. You could hear people congratulating you on your weight loss, and imagine how it will feel to be healthy and able to run for the bus instead of getting out of breath. You could even imagine how the new healthy food that you will be eating will taste – tangy fruit and crunchy vegetables, lean meat, etc.
- Make the change in the easiest way possible. As an example, if you want o get fit, choose a sport or activity that you like. You are more likely to stick at it, and thus achieve your goal of getting fit.
- It helps to write down your goals as well.Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor from the Dominican University in California, found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down on a regular basis. While you are writing them down, why not do a plan which explains each stage of your goal? If you want to lose 20 kilogrammes, write a plan for losing the first 5 kilograms (with a reward at that point), and then a plan for the next 5 kilograms. You may wan to go to the gym, so how are you going to fit that in your life. Before or after work? Alone or with a buddy? Scope out the project of your goal, and you are planning for success!
- Choose a buddy to work with. This will help you be accountable for what you have agreed to do. They do not have to do the activity with you (e.g. exercise with you) but they can be someone who supports and encourages you.
- Hypnotherapy can also be useful in helping you keep goals, as it talks directly to the subconscious mind. This allows you to realign old habits to become helpful habits to create positive change in your life.
In the last part of this series, I will provide some more tips on how to keep to your Resolutions.