Sarah Smith, Founder of lightbulb.coach, February 2022
It’s February and how many of us are annoyed at ourselves for falling off the bandwagon, our New Year resolutions have already been forgotten? The plan was to have a dry month with no alcohol, lose the Christmas pounds, find a new job or spend more time reading. Whatever the resolution was, it was never to our detriment. The resolutions were designed to benefit us, right?
Yet, we let them lapse, we allow something else to become priority or we tell ourselves to give up, it’s easier. All too often our own needs are relegated, not by others, but by ourselves. Do we value our own needs?
Commonly, we set ourselves wild and exaggerated goals, or quite simply a reasonable self-request, “I will lose 12lbs in 3 months”, this isn’t impossible, it’s losing 1lb a week. It’s by all accounts, a healthy target.
So, the first week you might lose 2 lbs, the motivation is reinforced, and the healthy eating plan continues. The second week you lose half a pound, and you feel a little deflated but it’s still a loss. The third week you don’t lose anything and the voice in your head starts to justify why you should give up. You become disengaged, fed up and quickly replace that two and a half pounds, plus another one for luck.
What if we put a little detail around that resolution, prepare for how we will reach that goal?
Your resolution/goal/dream/target is the result, that’s the bit when you get to celebrate and congratulate yourself. But what happens before then?
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get planning:
- Firstly, be specific about what that end result looks like. What will it feel like, what will you look like? What will the benefits of reaching your goal have? Who will benefit?
- What difference will achieving the goal make to you? What are the consequences of not reaching your goal?
- Think about what makes this goal so important to you?
- Spending some time visualising the end goal and understanding what it means to you, adds purpose and intention. Write it down, draw it, create a vision board, tell someone what your plan is, whatever you prefer.
- Then think about what you need to help you reach your goal. Do you need help or support from specific people? Do you need equipment, money, resources? How can you get what you need? Having a support system and the resources ready helps to firm up the intention.
- Secondly, think about what you have tried already. Have you have tried to reach this goal in the past? What went well, what went not so well? Try to recognise the triggers for letting something get in the way of achieving your goal.
This might seem like a lot of work for a resolution but without this preparation, are you just setting yourself up to fail?
- Thirdly, think about the barriers you may need to overcome, what might derail your plan? What strategies can you put in place to stop yourself being derailed?
- How committed are you to this goal and how will you hold yourself accountable? If you don’t feel overly committed, is it the right goal for you? Do you care enough about achieving it? Who or what will help you stay on track?
Finally, think about your goal as little goals or steppingstones to where you want to be. Take each step at a time. Set mini goals that are milestones to signify your progress. You may veer off towards another stone or fall off. That’s OK, pay attention to the reasons and jump back on. You’ve already started the journey, might as well keep going.
Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on the small wins as well as the big.
Preparation is key. Without a plan your goals are empty statements. Create a plan alongside your intentions and watch the magic happen.