New year new you!! (Am I right?)
There’s too much written about sticking to your goals, but for some reason we as humans seem in general unable to follow through on those big dreams.
Now I’m no New Year’s Resolution expert, but a lot of what we do day in day out is encourage, coach and nurture behaviour change in people to improve their health and wellbeing.
So here are my top tips to help you stick to your goals:
1. Set a Behaviour goal…
Many people will have a goal like “get fit” or “lose weight”. Some will even be more specific like “lose 15 kg”. But these are all outcome measures (like the score in football). This occurs after all the work, and there is no plan in place to actually achieve the outcome.
Setting a behaviour goal is measurable and achievable. If you want to join the gym, set a behaviour goal like “go to the gym 3x per week for the next 12 weeks”. This is fully measurable, and you can tell at every step of the journey if you are on track.
This process goal will allow you to achieve the desired outcome (lose weight) by having an actual measurable plan. If you have a dietary goal – “eating clean” is not a great goal. “Eating only protein and vegetables 2 meals per day, 5 days per week” is a behaviour goal (for example)
2. Have a plan…
Lots of people will set goals and have dreams, but many of them never succeed. There’s a saying that a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Not only should you have a plan (as in part 1) but you need to map it out. Saying you’ll go to the gym 3x per week is one thing. Have you laid it out in your diary/planner of choice exactly when and where and how?
Once you have it laid out, you simply have to follow the steps. Got a gym session scheduled for 6am on Tuesday? Then go. It’s an appointment just like going to the dentist.
3. Get some accountability…
As humans we are very happy to let ourselves down or lie to ourselves, but we are rarely happy with letting someone else down.
Having someone to hold you to account goes a very long way to sticking to the plan.
Get a training buddy. You may not feel like running in the rain at 6am, but if you know your training buddy is in the rain waiting for you, you sure aren’t going to want to let them down by not showing up.
I often find people booking classes helps keep them on track too. If you’ve already paid for that F45 class and have booked, then they are expecting you and you are wasting your money if you don’t go. The same goes for personal
training. Someone is expecting you to show up, so we are much better at showing up.
4. Have a good reason…
When people make lifestyle changes – this is usually preceded by some sort of pain or discomfort (not necessarily physical).
It’s actually what we see in the clinic all the time too. People will attend with problems that they’ve had for years, and often it was just never bad enough to bother them before (or not enough to make them seek help). So when they do seek help it means the discomfort they are experiencing is now exceeding the discomfort of doing nothing about it)
There’s another saying that people only change when they are ready. Why do people struggle to quit smoking for years, and then suddenly they are able to quit? It’s because the reason why is now strong enough to see them through it.
Find your why and your motivation struggles will become much smaller.
5. Keep it interesting (ok this is a pretty out there idea)…
Still requiring motivation? Why not put your money where your mouth is… I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty competitive person by nature, particularly when I feel I should have the ability to win.
Once many years ago, some friends and I who were all pretty fit but wanted to get really fit started a pool for a 6 pack abs competition. We all put in money and it was winner take all for the best abs at the end of the time period. If there
wasn’t unanimous decision at the end then it had to go to public vote. (Now admittedly there are a lot of issues with this example – negative body image issues, gambling, etc, but we were young and dumb).
The point is having that competition and wanting bragging rights certainly helped me not to buy that coffee chill at the servo, or choose not to have ice-cream after dinner.
It wasn’t even about the money, but it was another layer of accountability to give me a reason to stay on track.
6. Finally – have a realistic goal…
Yes losing 50 kg in 3 months would be great, but that’s just not going to happen. AND your setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
You need to understand that change takes time, and the best changes come from changing your habits and lifestyle, not just short-term drastic measures.
Hitting the gym every day for 30 days and then quitting forever is definitely not as good as making exercise a lifelong habit that you can sustain and enjoy.
If you are serious about making some lifestyle changes (and congratulations if you are) then do it for you, set an achievable target (once you reach that, there’s always a new goal), map out the plan and then stick to it.