We are starting the second month of the year already!! And this sometimes is the toughest month, believe it or not. Usually January is all fun and uplifting because it’s the new month of the year and we all get excited with all the resolutions and goal planning: to loose those extra pounds gained over the holidays, to start going to the gym, to drink less, to quit smoking, to spend more time with the family, to eat healthy, to cut down on Facebook time, and the list goes on and on and on… February is not so much fun anymore because it can bring doubt if the ‘plan’ to reach our goals is not working.
For instance, the most common goal is to loose weight, but what happens on week 1? We are on track and do all the things needed (buy more veggies, enroll is some weight loss program, stop buying unhealthy snacks, etc.). At week 2, we might loose 1 pound and wonder why we haven’t lost the 10 pounds we initially hoped for. It is not even the end of week 2 and we start to give up. Soon, that goal starts to be distant and falls back in the ‘I’ll try again next month ’ list or in the ‘resolution list for 2017’. Is this you?
How did we loose focus? Maybe we are not setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Most likely when we set our resolutions or goals, we just list the things we want to change or have in our lives, without paying attention to the WHY of things. Let’s get into this…
Here is where you get down and dirty with your goals, almost like in relationships. No, really, you grab each one and get naked with it. This could be a revealing phase when you think, analyze and realize about the driving force behind each goal you are setting for the week, month or year. This could apply to your health, career, lifestyle, relationships, finances, etc.
Back to our above example of loosing weight: Do we want to loose weight because we want to look good for the summer (for that bikini or 6-pack selfie)? Uhh, maybe. Are we not confident enough with the way we look now? -Ah-ha!!! Need to boost self-confidence!! OR Is it about the appearance or is there something else behind? Are we trying to improve our health so we can have more energy to be able to keep up with the kids?
Whether it is to improve your health or to gain confidence, a HELPFUL TIP is to visualize yourself at that moment once you’ve reached your goal. How does that make you feel? Happy. Accomplished. Relieved. Excited. Powerful. Have that vision clear and ask yourself these questions:
How do I feel now?
How will I feel once the goal is complete?
Who am I doing this for?
What are the benefits for me and those around me?
Once we know WHY, we go into 5 basic steps to make that happen. I’m not saying that it’s as easy as it sounds, it requires consistency, determination, acceptance and to be open for a change. It requires setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Before we jump into that let’s quickly discuss this….
- Specific – it helps to be clear and specific about the goal. If you can visualize it as real and see yourself in it, chances are it will be more attainable to achieve the goal. You should be able to see it, touch it, smell it, feel it, taste it. Also, be specific about who you are doing this for (family, yourself, a friend, your boss). Most likely you want to do it for yourself, right? otherwise why going through all the trouble. When you own it, you will have it!
- Measurable – set your goals in a way that you should be able to measure the progress. When you measure the progress, you stay on track, and it will encourage you to keep moving forward. This will also help you to know when the goal was accomplished. Ask yourself: How much? How many? How do I know I achieved my goal?
- Attainable – think of ways to accomplish your goal, what are the logical steps to do it? How much work you think you have to put into it? Are you willing to do all that work? Breaking up your big goal into smaller action steps is helpful so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming and can help you get closer to your goal.
- Realistic – you want to make sure it is a goal that you would be able to do, in other words, that given the resources and efforts, you see yourself completing the goal. As real as you want to keep it, you should also set the bar as high and difficult as this can be beneficial for you. The more challenging a goal is, the more motivation you can get to achieve it, and the greater satisfaction afterwards.
- Timely – setting up datelines or creating a time frame are great ways to organize and having the vision that your goal IS BECOMING real. Set each goal for a length of time to be accomplished (a week, a month, a year), and do the same for each action step. If it helps, to keep a calendar handy, or a planner that you can go back to every so often to get the reminder.
We all get really excited about day-dreaming and planning want we want in the future, and this feeling intensifies more early in the year as we prepare our resolutions. But our brains get so chatty and confused when all those ideas are just floating around. I don’t know you, but I like to write things down, whether that’d be in a journal, planner, post-its, napkin, or have reminders in my cell phone. My brain need to see it visually, like a flowchart, list or table. I don’t consider myself the most organized person in the world, but when I see things clearly in a structure, I feel more optimistic that I can carry on with the task.
If it feels like this year is starting to get hectic already maybe it is because you are trying to do so many things at once. Filling up your plate with too much can only cause a big spill and a mess if you don’t have the tools. Take a break, slow down, breathe, put on your favorite music, have a glass of (wine, tea, juice), sit down and jot down the things you want to accomplish this year. Don’t stress, you are not being graded on this. Once you have the BIG PICTURE, break it down into smaller goals for each month, then for each week and follow the S.M.A.R.T. tips. FOCUS on only a few (2-3) goals each month.
As always, with Love & Gratitude,