January 16, 2021
Photography: Chelsea Boyd Gibson-Meadowsweet Photography
Goals are an essential part of moving forward in life. Whether you want to run a marathon, lose weight, quit sugar, take up a new hobby, open a business or simply become more organized, concrete goals will help you move toward your vision. Most people have no problem creating goals, but often find it challenging to follow through. If this is you, you are not alone! Research from the University of Scranton shows that a mere 8% of people followed through with their New Year's Resolutions for the entire year.
However, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
1. Chunk it down
The biggest reason for not sticking with our goals is that we set the bar too high. We often focus on the end goal, without looking at all the small steps that take us there. This can feel overwhelming and prevent us from moving forward. For instance, if your goal is to lose 120 pounds, you could chunk it down and simply focus on losing 2 pounds per week.
2. Keep the end goal in sight
Although we need to chunk down in order to reach our goals, we also need to keep that end vision in sight. Ask yourself why you want to achieve your goal? How will it make you feel? Creating a vivid image of how it feels to reach your end goal will keep you motivated to follow through with the little steps.
3. Schedule time to achieve your goals
We all know how easy it is for time to slip away with work/family obligations or waning energy levels as the day progresses.
Make your goal a priority by committing to daily or weekly time slots set aside specifically for it. Many people find setting their alarm a little earlier allows for distraction free time in the morning to practise a new habit or goal. This has the added bonus of infusing a sense of accomplishment into the rest of your day.
4. When you fall down, get back up
Confucius once said “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall”. It’s normal to ‘cheat’ once in a while, to have that piece of chocolate cake, miss your workout or sleep in. Measure your success in how quickly you are able to return to your commitment and forgive your slip.
5. Be accountable
Tell a friend or family member about your goal and ask them to keep you accountable, checking in daily or weekly to make sure you are staying on track. Alternatively, you could keep a calendar and check off each day that you accomplish your goal.
6. Reward yourself
Don’t be afraid to reward yourself! Each time we take a moment to thank ourselves and acknowledge our efforts we are strengthening neural connections in the brain which link the new habit with a positive emotion. In turn it becomes easier to follow through with new habits as the brain begins to associate them with a positive state. This could simply mean taking a moment to tell yourself you did a good job, or you could treat yourself to a massage or special meal at the end of each month as a gift for staying on track.
7. Make it fun
Perhaps the most important tip of all - make it fun! Ask yourself how you can make your goals enjoyable. If your goal is to workout more, perhaps you can also use this time to listen to a podcast or audiobook. If you want to eat healthier get creative in the kitchen and try out some new exciting foods and recipes. If you want to take up meditation, why not light a candle or diffuse some of your favourite essential oils.
Remember it is not the achievement of the goal that brings lasting fulfillment, but the person you become on the way there.
Forgive yourself when you slip up.
Reward yourself when you overcome challenges.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the journey!