While our positivity and motivation are always high when we first set our goals, sometimes we feel them waning by February. This year, stop the cycle of resolving to make a change, but then not following through. Here are a few simple tips on how to hit the ground running and maintain that pace toward a positive change in your life.
1) Set realistic goals. One of my favorite quotes is “Willpower is like a muscle. It gets stronger with use but will ultimately weaken if overloaded.” Make sure the goals you set are challenging but not overwhelming. Concrete, well-defined, and measurable goals, when reached, will provide feelings of achievement and success. And this often gives us the drive we need to keep going.
2) Change your environment. Look around: does your space provide what you need (or don’t need) to be successful? Perhaps you need to alter your surroundings to support your new behaviors. Clean out the cabinets, or at least reorganize them so the “bad” stuff is unavailable to you. Purge the fridge and freezer and stock them with the right foods. Dust off the bike in the garage, or pack your gym clothes and put them in your car the night before. Doing just one small thing a day can greatly improve your focus.
3) Ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” You had a good reason for making that resolution, so don’t forget what it was. Keeping a list of the pro’s and con’s of sticking to your plan will help remind you of the bigger, better picture (and I’ll bet your pro list is way longer than your con list!)
4) Announce your intentions. Often, the best way to stay on track is succumbing to a little peer pressure. Make a public announcement to friends and family about your goal, and ask for their support. It’ll help you feel like you’re not in this alone, and you might even gain some great advice and insight, not to mention inspire others.
5) Anticipate obstacles. Even under the best of circumstances, on your path toward achievement you may encounter occasional obstacles. The key is to plan for them, instead of just reacting on an emotional level when they actually happen. Identifying and thinking through potential temptations beforehand can make a big difference on how we handle and control them when they surface.
6) Focus on the positive. Positive thoughts and actions have a way of manifesting. No matter how tough your day is, think of at least one positive thing – one thing that you’re grateful or happy for. Jot it down in a journal so you can look back on your entries. It can be a powerful motivator to continue on a positive trend.
7) Don’t beat yourself up. Yes, you’re human, and that’s a good thing. If you encounter a setback, forgive yourself and hit the reset button. Don’t use it as an excuse to continue negative behavior, just be realistic and realize that the situation is temporary. Each moment is a chance for a fresh start, so keep trying.