If you’re like me and you like making New Year’s Resolutions, then probably like me you’ve started to lose a little bit of momentum by the end of January in maintaining what you want to achieve. You make have even given up already, and first thing’s first, do not blame yourself or call yourself a failure because if you were a perfect human being you wouldn’t of had to make resolutions in the first.
Also just because you had given up doesn’t mean you can’t start again today. I know they are called New Year’s Resolutions, but take away the adjective phrase ‘New Year’s’, and your resolutions can be started at any time of the year not just at the beginning of January.
I realised last week that I was losing traction on some of my goals but not on my others. I have in the past been able to complete New Year’s Resolutions. One of mine for last year was to complete my blog series ‘The Key to a Great Story‘ and I did. I mean it was in December when the last post went out but I did it.
I know that the reason I did was because writing and writing about writing is something that I really love doing. I had set myself an attainable goal to achieve in something that I love. I had set it simply to focus myself, not because I wanted to be strict with myself and punish myself for not being good enough, but because I had an aim that I wanted to achieve and I set a time period/deadline to propel myself forward.
And here in lies why I think I’ve been failing at the resolution I had been making for the last few years now and is a common one; I would like to lose a little bit of weight. I was punishing myself for having gained weight in the first place and I was punishing myself even harder for failing to be able to do anything about it.
Until last week when I had a bit of a revelation about myself; I really like lists, in particular to-do lists. I started to keep a week by week diary this year where I was writing everything that I needed to do for my blog and by various online learning courses, and for some reason I added a couple of personal ones like go to the gym and record what you eat. And then I ticked them off.
Honestly, I find it really satisfying ticking something off a list. I do it at work all the time, and in fact I’m quite obsessive about it. Every project I approach I divide into small achievable chunks of activity which I when I’ve completed I tick off. It stops me from forgetting to do things and I have a record of what I’ve done.
I don’t know why I had never thought about doing this for achieving my personal goals as well. So I’m going to use one of my resolutions as an example of how I plan on keeping up my momentum, and it is a common one;
Get physically fitter for an upcoming holiday
I have a time frame and I have an objective. Great, this is the overall objective and quite frankly it means very little. I could start full steam ahead and go to the swimming pool five times a week, and in two weeks time I will have given up.
So I have to break this down into daily and weekly tasks, small achievable chunks that I can call daily and weekly resolutions.
- So each day I want to record what I eat, not necessary to make sure I cut down calories but to actually look at what I eat and where I can improve.
- I also want to improve my muscle tone, as this will help build muscle and burn fat, so I’ve identified some kettlebell exercises I like doing and I’ll do 5 reps a day. It will take less than 10 minutes in total. For future days I will increase this.
- To go to the gym and/swimming pool. At the minute just going at all is going to improve my fitness. In future weeks I might set the number of times I go, or determine the length of times I go, but I want to develop this as a habit. If I’m strict with myself at first my brain is going to be stubborn and whine ‘I don’t want to’, and I’l listen to it and never get around to it.
- Measure myself. I’ve tried weight-loss in the past where the only thing I’ve looked at is how much I weight. That really doesn’t work for me at all; I’m very heavy for my physical size because while I do have excess fat I do also have quite a lot of muscle as well. I’m a bit like a rugby player when it comes to BMI; I’m small and while I certainly have fat weight, it doesn’t take into account I have denser muscle weight as well. Measuring myself shows the improvements in muscle definition and loss of fat. Weighting myself might show me getting heavier as I develop muscle before I start to burn off the fat. I have a vague idea of how much I weight but I’m not tracking it obsessively, because I will only get disheartened. I also only measure myself once a week at the same time every week (Saturday morning) because otherwise I won’t see improvement.
Overall having broken it down into smaller chunks I will achieve my objective. Maybe not as much as I would like but with only the objective I know I won’t achieve anything.
This approach can be applied to any goal; I have one objective where I want to improve my skin regime, so routines of cleansing and scrubbing have been added to my daily and weekly list. I have writing aims so I’m adding that to my weekly lists, but very small chunks of it only so as to not trigger the stubborn side of my brain; I’m doing a lot of personal development learning as well, small chunks weekly tasks.
I also have one objective, become a better morning person which I have as a monthly task. This month I have a new alarm clock and a strict rule of reduced snoozing. Next month I’ll be setting it earlier with no snoozing allowed.
Also if I fail to do anything one day or one week, I don’t beat myself up about it. I just make sure I do it for certain the next day or make it a priority for the next week. That way I keep the momentum going but don’t just give up when I slip up. To err is to be human.