8. The percentage of people that actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions according to last year’s study by Forbes. I found a few other numbers, but they weren’t much higher. My first reaction was shock, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. I mean think about it, one of the most common resolutions is to get healthier. That is such a broad statement and there are so many levels behind it. How will you get healthier? What are the things you will change about your life to be healthier? Will you lose weight, eat less processed foods, eat less sugar, eat out less? The list goes on. This is the main problem with these things we call resolutions. They are broad statements we make to feel as if we are starting the year off with some goals. Goals are good, but in order to reach those goals you need the steps it will take you to get there. You need check in points that are not only attainable but measurable.
How do I know this? Because I was an elementary school teacher for 14 years, and the first 8 of those years I spent teaching special education. The main part of my job was coming up with yearly education goals for my students and breaking them down into small measurable attainable steps. Each trimester we would assess and see where we were at with their goals, and if we weren’t quite at the step we were working toward, then we would make a change. Whether that change was approaching the goal in a different way, or perhaps realizing that the goal was too lofty and we needed to take a tiny step back, a change has to be made if you aren’t on the right path. This is the main reason people fail at the resolutions they make, their goals are so out of the realm of achievement that they quit before they have even started. It’s overwhelming and daunting. By nature we get discouraged if we don’t get some positive feedback along the way. Its normal, so without the feeling of some sort of success, we throw in the towel. In my experience as a teacher, I saw the very same thing in my students. School was daunting, overwhelming and unmanageable. Many of them were so defeated by the time they came to me that I had to make it my primary goal to build them up before any sort of achievement was going to happen. So by giving them small steps to climb, in place of that huge mountain they saw before, they began to feel success. Once that success started sinking in, the tiny baby steps got a little bigger. And eventually, the goal that they once thought was so out of their reach became the approaching finish line! It was my favorite part of teaching and I hope that this website and the new services I will begin to add to my business can do the same with my clients.
So how do you make your New Year’s resolutions reachable? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make them specific. Instead of “I will get healthy”, try something specific like “I will only eat processed sugar one time a week.”
- Make them achievable for YOU. Forget about what everyone else considers right. Look at where you are currently, and start there. If you don’t, you increase your risk of failure because you are the one working on this goal and you need to be honest with yourself on where you are. So if you eat dessert every single night, a goal can be that you will only eat dessert on the weekends.
- Set small steps and check-ins along the way. If you are hoping to get to only eating dessert on the weekend by the end of the year, maybe set up a check-in every few months to have dropped at least one night of dessert. If you aren’t where you want to be at your check-in, make sure to reassess and ask yourself why what you are doing isn’t working. Do you need more support? Do you need a less lofty goal? As long as you are making progress then you are moving in the right direction, so make sure you are reaching those small steps.
- A biggie: it’s not about being perfect, it is about the progress you make to reach your goal. If you make a mistake, its ok. Don’t look back, look forward and what you can do to prevent mistakes in the future.
- Keep it short. Don’t set too many goals, the sheer amount will overwhelm you. Between 3-5 is a good number, but 1 or 2 are just fine also. Having 1 goal you meet is much better than a handful you don’t succeed in.
- Get some support. Whether it’s your husband, a friend, a service to help you, or a group you join, find a way to become held accountable, someone to check in with. Just the thought of having to face another person will help motivate you.
- Write them down. Yes, physically write down your goals and the small steps you will take to reach them. Crossing off or highlighting each step gives you visual positive feedback and any positive feedback helps contribute to that good feeling you get inside called success!
I have my own New Year’s resolutions, this year I am focusing on my work. In 2014, I plan to add services to my site. Since I practice what I preach, I will begin with something small. Do you need help creating attainable resolutions? Do you need someone to break them down into small reachable steps? This is where I come in with my health organization support. I plan to offer services that can help you, and your family, begin the process of living a healthier lifestyle, or kick it up a notch if you have already started. I am not a certified nutritionist or dietician, so any medical issues will need to be dealt with by your doctor, but I know a lot about eating whole foods, exercise, and overall organizing your life to make it easier to continue a healthy lifestyle. My extensive teaching background and my Masters in Education has taught me a lot about creating and reaching achievable goals and helping others reach them. I believe that this experience can greatly help those that can’t do this on their own in today’s fast paced life. Just like my students that needed support navigating their school world, I can help you navigate your health world. If you are interested in hearing more, please get in touch or you can look for my “New Year, New You” post at the start of 2014! Thank you for your continued support and have a safe and happy start to your New Year!