How are those New Year’s resolutions going?
When we began sheltering-at-home five weeks ago in the face of COVID-19, any sort of normalcy was replaced by immediate concerns for physical health and adjusting to a new day-to-day reality. Focusing on the present was (and still is) a great strategy for staying calm and focused.
Our routines, including commitments to good eating and exercise habits, went out the window. Understandably so.
The truth is, however, even without a pandemic, fewer than 25% of people who made New Year’s resolutions would have been on track, even beyond the first month. And, only a smaller fraction, 8% to be exact, actually accomplish what they resolved to do. Depressing odds!
Use this time to revisit your goals for this year.
Resolutions, unfortunately, while made up of good intentions, often are missing the key ingredient of success: specificity. All is not lost, however. There are still eight months to go!
Take a look at some of the things you hoped to accomplish this year, honor what you have accomplished, acknowledge that we live in unprecedented times (save the Plague and the Spanish Flu—but unprecedented in our lifetime), and make a plan for the rest of the year.
Here are 5 steps to guide your success:
Get clear on the What and the Why.
If your goal is to lose weight, put a number to it and outline the motivation. For example: Commit to losing 10 pounds in 6 months (that’s only 1-2 lbs. a month) because this will reduce pressure on your knees, ease back pain, or perhaps there’s a race you have your eye on in the future.
How are you going to accomplish your goal? Outline the steps you need to take on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. Again, if your goal is losing 10 pounds, commit to tracking your food each meal, sticking to your determined calorie intake, exercising 3 times per week, and weighing yourself on a schedule. For every challenge you think of, come up with a solution. Order food for delivery. Find online workouts. Walk around the block.
Manage, measure and track:
Set yourself up for success by making your goals realistic and manageable. Set a 10-pound weight loss goal instead of a 100. After you achieve your goal you can always set another one. Measure your progress along the way and keep track of it. This allows you to maintain perspective over your progress and motivation.
Your chances of success increase when you commit to 3-4 goals. Spreading yourself too thin is counterproductive and often overwhelming. That’s when dropout happens.
Lastly, consistency is key. Make sure you make time every day to put thought into your goal, even if it’s for just a few minutes at the start of the day. Consider journaling about your goal as doing so doubles your chances of success. Now those are some pretty good odds.
When so much is uncertain and out of our control, it can be empowering to pick goals that you can control. Break them down into action steps, and forge ahead. We may be working toward a new normal, but we will be back living life fully. Take the time now to do something for you, to keep an eye to the future.