This was published as my Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record. It was published at the end of January, but is a good re-boot any time of year!
If you’re like most people, your resolutions are already fading and forgotten, a month into the new year. But there’s no reason you can’t begin again. Here’s how to succeed this time.
1. Have an Action Plan A vision is essential, but not enough to get you there. You need clear steps that are both effective for reaching your goal, and do-able for you.
2. Commitment Checks You need a way to keep track of progress, so you can evaluate and even change course, if necessary, correcting as you go.
Note: Do NOT use the scale if you are working on weight loss. It is a misleading taskmaster, and won’t tell you if you’re losing fat, muscle, or water. Instead, use your clothes, and how you feel. If you’re losing fat and healing your metabolism, you will feel GREAT. If you’re losing muscle and water, you will be tired, hungry, struggling, and lack focus and willpower.
3. Why? You must know what motivates you, and it has to be intrinsically important to YOU. Not because anyone else said so. Vanity is fine, if that works for you. Hey, we all want to look good in a bathing suit. Or you may want to change your health prognosis. Be totally honest with yourself here. You need a strong motivation to keep you going when the going gets tough, and it will.
4. What? What are you putting on the line? Studies show – not surprisingly – that you will follow your money, which makes you “invested” not only financially but psychologically. It doesn’t have to be money, but if there’s nothing at stake, you are less likely to succeed.
5. Join Forces Get a partner who is also working on changes.It’s okay if they have a different commitment or motivation. Provide support and accountability for each other.
Notes: Your nearest and dearest may not be right for the job. Change can be threatening, and even with good intentions, they may sabotage your efforts. Choose a partner who can stay objective. Or hire someone like me, who’s done it, and helped thousands of others do it, too. (see follow your money, above!)
6. Short Term Rewards Figure out some simple treats to keep you motivated along the way. I make playlists of my current favorite music, and only listen when I am exercising. You could only let yourself read your favorite magazine, or watch your favorite TV show after you have a good day. But DON’T use food as a reward. It’s a slippery slope!
7. Don’t Do What Doesn’t Work Avoid quick fixes and pie in the sky promises. If it didn’t work last year, it probably won’t work this year either. Be realistic.
8. Give Up Zero Tolerance Change is never a straight line to the goal. Don’t use a slip as an excuse to give up. Don’t beat yourself up or tear yourself down. It’s not kind and it’s not effective motivation. Shoot for perfection, forgive yourself when you mess up, and re-commit. As many times as it takes.
Want a partner that you can depend on, for guidance and accountability? Click BookNow, and make an appointment with me.
For more articles on commitment, see below