Happy New Year, everyone!
January is a time for new beginnings (especially this year!) but it can all be a little overwhelming, right?
Every January we’re bombarded with adverts and articles telling us how we should overhaul every little aspect of our lives, encouraging us to buy products that will magically help us lose weight, get fitter or quit our so-called bad habits for good. Do they work? Rarely! Why? Because these get-healthy-quick schemes are entirely unrealistic and often unhealthy. Indeed, they exist to empty our bank accounts and make someone else a lot of money!
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have new year’s resolutions. January is a wonderful time to rethink our health and habits. We’ve just emerged from the sensory overload of Christmas and are itching to feel cleansed. So yes, It’s a great time for a fresh start but keep a level head and don’t commit yourself to half a dozen major life changes that you’ll never maintain. By incorporating small changes into your life and giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your goals, you’ll smash them. If it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up. If January is not a good month for you, pick a better one, make a plan and stick to it.
Choosing an aspect of your life you’d like to improve and taking small steps to achieve a realistic goal is the best way to effect meaningful change.
What’s your New Year Resolution?
I love meditating, walking and swimming, but have neglected these recently; so mine is to take some time out for me, one evening a week. I think this is a doable resolution, much more so than committing to swimming or walking every night of the week. That wouldn’t last long!
For most of us motivation only lasts a short while, especially if our chosen goal isn’t SMART.
SMART stands for:
● Specific (a simple and sensible goal)
● Measurable (meaningful and easy to measure)
● Achievable (an attainable goal)
● Relevant (reasonable and results-focused)
● Time bound (time limited, easy to measure)
Keep your goal SPECIFIC. Let’s pick a common one: running. If your dream is to run a marathon but you’ve never ran before then your goal could be to complete ‘Couch to 5k’ within a certain period of time. This longer term approach is much more likely to work than signing up for a half-marathon and putting yourself off running for life!
Make your goal MEASURABLE. By setting practical milestones over a realistic period of time you can see how you're progressing. This line of progression is incredibly motivating!
Once you’ve ACHIEVED your first milestone (say, running 1km within your chosen timeframe), this will motivate you to move on to your next running goal!
Your next goal should be REALISTIC. At this stage on your journey you may feel confident enough to join a running club or complete your first race.
Finally, your goals should be TIME BOUND. Training takes time so start small and build up your stamina to avoid setbacks, injuries and demotivation. As well as being motivating, having an end date will help you shape and monitor your progress.
Finally, you’ve got to really mean it! You’ve got to want to achieve your chosen goal. Don’t create a whole new set of habits just because it’s January or because your partner or friends are doing it. Do it for you.
Have a wonderful 2021!