Today we hit the one-week mark of the New Year. How has everybody’s 2016 been so far? Still sticking to those New Year resolutions? If not, don’t beat yourself up about it – chuck those feelings of guilt out with the garbage because they wont do you any good!
Often times those grand big-picture ideas fall to the wayside when they are not immediately achievable, and yes, those big, endpoint visions are great for guidance along the way, but unfortunately it wont all fall into place immediately. Change is a journey. It takes time. Don’t feel defeated if it hasn’t happened for you in a week.
To put it into perspective when I visit my parent’s house I cant just teleport from my home to theirs. That would be great of course, but I have to pack my bag, hit the road and drive for hours. In my mind I’ve broken my journey down into smaller chunks. Firstly I have to get out of the suburbs, and then I hit a highway and follow it down to the big smoke. From here I wind and weave my way through the city until I end up on another highway that will take me further south. That highway merges into another and eventually I take an exit and follow the country road home. Small manageable chunks, instead of one great big overwhelming journey.
A similar mindset will help a person stick to their resolutions or goals -small micro goals that you can work on achieving on a daily basis in order to be able to tick the big one off at the end. One little caveat though if your resolution happens to be focused on healthy lifestyle and wellbeing – there is no end. Leading a healthy lifestyle means long-term maintenance, and that’s why any changes you make should be enjoyable and sustainable. SMART goal setting can help.
Lets break it down a bit:
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. I personally like to add another S on the end for Sustainable – it needs to be enjoyable enough that it works for you and you want to continue with the change long term.
Goals should be more than big picture. They need to be detailed and planned. It’s a great idea to write your goal down and narrow in on the specifics as this will help make the goal measurable and attainable. For example, if you haven’t run a day in your life but want to enter the 10km fun run in a few months you wouldn’t go out this afternoon and aim to run 10km, its just not realistic. Most likely this wouldn’t be possible and you’d pull up short, feeling crappy about yourself because you failed at your goal. Instead a good idea would be to write down a series of micro goals that progress as you do: This week I will exercise every day for 15 minutes. I will alternate running for one minute and walking for one minute until the 15 minutes are complete. Next week I will increase the running to two minutes, while maintaining the one minute walk…and so on. Get specific and step it out while attaching a timeframe to your goal. This way you’ll feel great as you tick and flick these micro goals off your list. Realistically there will be set backs – hey life happens – but they are only set backs, not standstills. Check out the Iceberg Illusion pic down below. Change takes work and dedication, but it is possible, and so much can be said about a positive outlook. Concentrate on what you are and what you have achieved instead of what you’re not and what you haven’t. Before you know it that 10km fun run will be crossed off the list too. Maybe you’ll enjoy running so much it will become a lifelong daily exercise. Or maybe not. You might like to add a bit of variety to your training regime and give swimming a go. Triathlon anyone? :-)