It’s 2019 and once again time to start thinking about what you want to do with your year. I sat down last night to jot down a few goals in my journal and had a little flashback of how I USED to write my goals.
We celebrated New Years at my Grandparents house each year. And after stuffing my face with as much fudge as my stomach could handle, my Grandma would pull out a packet of little envelopes that had our names on them. Inside were the goals we had written the previous year.
I’ll bet my goals were the same as many of yours. One of the main ones that seemed to be on there every-single-year-was to lose weight. 5 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds… It just varied depending on the year.
And I never reached it.
So every year when I’d see that little envelope with my name on it, I wanted to scream and cry. But I didn’t have a lack of desire.
- Ask any teenage girl what they would give to have a thigh gap.
- Ask any young adult what they would be willing to do to feel confident in their own skin.
- Ask any new mom the price they would pay to lose the extra baby weight. Especially if it’s the baby weight they’ve been carrying since their first child and they’ve had 6!
No, it definitely wasn’t desire.
I started to get cynical about the whole New Years Resolution thing. I mean, who wouldn’t? If you set goals each year and never accomplished them, what are you supposed to think?
So I started to write cynical goals down. Things like “be alive” and “don’t kill husband or kids” and “keep all 5 fingers on my hand” or “don’t burn down anyone’s house”.
But the most destructive one I would write was probably “gain ___ pounds”. Funny. I always could accomplish that one!
I figured if I wasn’t going to be able to lose weight each year then I would just make it my goal to gain it!
Not good for my mental health.
What I needed was not EASY goals, but BETTER and SMARTER goals. And since reading the book “Mini Habits for Weight Loss” by Stephen Guise, my whole outlook changed about the right way to set goals.
I thought this book was BRILLIANT in that it taught me how to set goals that I couldn’t fail in. Since our brains are wired to like the feeling of accomplishment, we feed that desire for success.
My old way of setting goals set me up for failure. The goals were too big, vague, and really only measurable in a specific way. It wasn’t possible for me to measure how hard I tried or what I DID accomplish.
So I set goals now based on an entirely different system.
If I want to be in a healthier body, I am going to set a “mini goal”. Once that I WILL be successful doing. Even on my worst day.
For example: Drink a cup of water in the morning when I wake up. Even if I wake up grumpy, I can STILL drink that cup of water. If I wake up on a weekend – I can drink water. If I wake up in a hotel (haha) I can still drink water.
And what I’ve found is that if I drink water first thing in the morning, I drink more water throughout the day. It’s like it sets my healthy water drinking habit in motion and I am off to a great start!
Another “mini habit/goal” I love is to make my bed. My super wise life coach suggested making my bed each morning. No matter how hard the day is throughout the day, I will have a safe and comfortable place to fall at night.
What I’ve found is that when I make my bed, It makes me want to put away my pajamas and dirty clothes from the night before. My bathroom counter gets cleared off. Any papers around my bed get tossed or sorted. Again, it sets into motion the habit of taking a few minutes each day to straighten up and stay semi-organized.
My current “mini habit/goal” I’m working on is to walk my boys to school in the morning. Now, you can almost see the school from my house so it’s not like this is a huge feat for me. But it gets me up and moving. I hate the cold, but I can endure it for 15 minutes while I walk with them. Plus, they like it when I walk with them. I get to hear all kinds of fascinating things they play on the way home and see things through their eyes. I LOVE it!
Plus, if I get a walk in first thing, I feel a little more energized and ready to jump in to the rest of my day. Mentally, physically, emotionally, this habit does so much good for me!
So how do you know if you have a good goal? There are several guidelines I give my clients to test their goals.
- Can you do it on your hardest day? If not, make it smaller. Like tiny small. One push up. One veggie at lunch. One sip of water in the morning. Put on your athletic shoes. Meditate 3 minutes. Write something you are grateful for. Find something small you will be successful at so you’ll want to keep doing it!
- Can it be measured? “Do something nice” is not quite as powerful as “Texting Tuesday – text someone a nice message today.” That’s measurable. “Smile at one random person today”. Pretty specific. “Tell your teenager that you love them before they go to bed.” Again, it can be measured with a yes or no if you wonder if you accomplished it.
- Don’t set too many goals. 3 at a time is great! If you want to do more or add to them, you always can. But wait until those 3 are going pretty good! Think SMALL! Baby steps, man!
- Achievable by YOU. This one is really important and hard for some people. Your goal has to be based 80% on YOU. You can’t rely on anyone else to accomplish your goal. For example: setting a goal for my husband to do the dishes – NO GO. Setting a goal to get ___ amount of likes on my Facebook page – NO GO. Those are goals that depend on the actions of others to accomplish. You can’t achieve those. Your goals are for YOU!
- Time bound. Set a time on your new goal. You’ll drink your water by 8:00 am. You’ll eat that veggie at lunch. You are going to publish that website by January 31st. You are going to send that text message before breakfast. You will write 5 things you are grateful for before bed. Have a time set to achieve your goal. The more specific, the better!
Make your goals achievable and you won’t get caught up in the same trap I did so many years ago. Goals are POWERFUL and will help you accomplish great things in your life!
And by the way, if you’re looking for help setting and following through on those goals, I am a great ACCOUNTABILITY partner! As a life coach, I specialize in setting the right kinds of goals with my clients and helping them achieve those goals. If you’re ready to move forward, let me know! I can help you. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll take care of you!