We humans love new beginnings. A new day, a new dawn is on the horizon and it’s coming rather quick. Are you contemplating making a list of resolutions for the year 2018? Is this finally your year to overcome the roadblocks, the setbacks, the failures? Yes! Because the good news is, you CAN do it. You can conquer old habits by replacing them with new sustainable ones. You can even be a greater success than you can imagine right now. BUT, you must want it bad; so bad, you are willing to do anything to get it done. Interested in learning how? Pour yourself a cup of tea, and let’s get started.
- Your Goal Has to be a Must.
- Setting S.M.A.R.T and Flexible Goals.
- Create Your Identity Statement and Incantation.
- Find Out Where You Are. ( 5 Stages of Change)
- Authority and Accountability.
- Pattern Interrupters and Emergency Action Plans.
- Gratitude Journal.
- Set a Start Date, Take Massive Action and Plan Next Step.
Your Goal Has to be a Must: It doesn’t matter if your goal is to quit smoking, to save money, to lose weight, or to have a regular exercise practice. Whatever it is, it MUST be extremely important to you, that to not achieve this goal actually produces a hurt, whether its emotional, physical, mental or spiritual. In helping my clients articulate their goals, I have them journal what life looks like when goal is met. In detail, they describe the people that are present in their life, how they feel now that they’ve achieved their goal, what they can now easily do now that goal is met. Then, once they’ve completed this imagery assignment, I further ask them to imagine how they would feel if the achievement was suddenly taken away. I ask my clients to close their eyes while they describe how life is now having failed to achieve stated goal. This is profound. Try it and see for yourself.
Setting S.M.A.R.T and Flexible Goals: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound goals is key. An example of a S.M.A.R.T goal for exercise is: I will walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes right after work. You get the idea. However, what happens if you get derailed? Say, you’re forced to cover another person’s shift at work, or required to work overtime? Here is where most people fail because their commitment is undermined and it’s no longer a perfect streak. We all have some degree of perfectionism. So, when we fail, the “what the heck” effect comes into play and we stay derailed. We are no longer incentivized to get back on track. Setting Flexible and S.M.A.R.T goals is absolutely necessary. For example, you set a Flexible S.M.A.R.T goal of walking 3 times a week after work at least 95% (Flexible) for the year 2018. If you get derailed, you are incentivized to get back on track because you aren’t requiring perfection. Roughly, you can go off plan and not exercise 8 times throughout the year and still meet your target. In this case, that’s nearly 2 1/2 weeks of being off plan. Studies show that consistency is key with goal achievement and 95% consistency gives us a 100% goal achievement.
Creating Your Identity Statement is Essential to Re-inventing You. Your identity statement allows you to act as if you’ve achieved your goal. Some key things to remember: make your identity statement in present tense and at least two to three sentences long. Here’s where I give my clients a magical wand and ask them to go to town. An identity statement example, “I am an athletic, slender intelligent woman known by my peers as a caring philanthropist who loves to help people”. Print this statement and post it on your sun-visor and read at every red light, or post on your mirror to see every time you brush your teeth. Read as many times as you can throughout your day.
Incantation: Another creative measure to drive in the new habits, is to say an incantation. The best time to say an incantation is when you are moving, as in walking, running or dancing. Make your incantation using some of the words from your identity statement. It helps if it rhymes. For example, “I am sexy and wealthy everyday, I choose to be healthy in every way”. Be creative and repeat your incantation when you are working out or driving in your car.
Find Out Where You Are in Relation to the 5 Stages of Change: (Prochaska & Diclemente 1983) Stage 1-Pre-contemplation: I can’t or I won’t change; Stage 2- Contemplation: I will or I should change; Stage 3-Preparation: I’m planning to change; Stage 4-Action: I’m in change or taking action to change; and Stage 5-Maintenance: I am in the maintenance of my change.
If you are in the pre-contemplation stage of change, find out what is overwhelming you, and chunk it down. For example, for smokers, it might be daunting to quit cold turkey. So, chunk it down to, “I’ll only smoke 10 cigarettes a day for 10 days, then drop it by 1 every 20 days until zero smoke days. If you are in the contemplation stage, do more research, find out more information as it relates to your achieving your goal. For example, for individuals who have to lose a 100+ pounds, they may not know the best and safest way to start. So the goal would be to get a health check-up, have their labs drawn, talk to a specialist. You get the point.
Visualize: It is extremely important to see yourself as if you’ve conquered your goal. I ask my clients to do this right before sleep and the first thing after wake up. See the new you first. Second, see you doing all the necessary steps to achieve the new you. Third, see you getting off track. Fourth, Discover the things that would derail you and create solutions for overcoming those setbacks. Finally, see you getting back on track.
Authority and Accountability: Find someone who has authority over you and tell them your goals and be accountable to them. This could be your priest, your professor, your boss, even a mastermind group or better, your health and wellness coach. I recommend creating your own mastermind group of people who are doing exactly the things that you are putting in motion to overcome. For smokers, alcoholics, and drug and food addicts, there are many support groups.
Pattern Interruptors and Emergency Action Plans: Interrupting your old habit for the new one is key. For example, for weight loss individuals who have a late night snacking pattern can choose to drink water instead. To interrupt the pattern when the urge strikes, start doing jumping jacks while belting out your incantation, then go get a drink of water or make a hot cup of tea. Write out your Emergency Action Plan, a.k.a EAP, and keep it on your smartphone, post it on the fridge, mirror, sun-visor. The goal is to read it when your saboteur is attempting to derail you. On your EAP include what you commit to doing if all else fails, the person that you will call before things go awry, the actions you will take once the saboteur starts giving you excuses why it’s ok to go off plan. You can write things like, “I will call my coach when I begin to waiver” or “I will post on my support groups’ page, when I feel the urge to…”
Keep a Gratitude Journal: I always recommend that my clients keep a gratitude journal daily. Being grateful is the panacea for resentment, sadness, anger, fear or any other lower tone of emotions. There is always something in which to be grateful. Write it down daily preferably right before bedtime. Don’t be concerned about penmanship, grammar or neatness. Get a journal and keep it by your bed. Here’s an assignment: write at least 3 gratitudes in your journal per night for 1 week. Before you begin, ascertain your tone on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being enthusiastic and 1 being not enthusiastic, or bored. Write me at [email protected] and tell me what occurred for you, the 1st 5 responders will get a full hour coaching complementary by me.
Meditate: Just 5 minutes twice a day could support you well. Bump it up to 15 minutes twice a day, you begin to be impervious to life’s setbacks. Please see my Meditation article, October 2017 on www.eujax.com for easy instructions on why and how to meditate. Basically, meditation de-stresses. Replacing a good habit for a bad habit can be stressful. Support yourself.
Set a Start Date, Take Massive Action and Plan Next Step: Setting a start date within 30 days of writing down your goals is crucial. The sooner the better. But, making all the necessary preparations before you begin is an absolute must. This is what it means to be taking massive action towards your resolutions. For example, a weight loss individual will set her start date to be January 15, 2018. She gives herself 15 days to catch up on household chores to include cleaning out the entire refrigerator and pantry-throwing out all non-compliant foods. She will also make several healthy entrees, measure and store in freezer. She’ll buy her journal, write out her EAP, visit her physician and finds someone or some community in which to be accountable. Boom! She is off to the races, armed and ready to win. She’ll keep track of her progress and as she approaches goal weight, she will be thinking about her next step. Her next step, might be getting even more toned, or running a marathon, or asking for a promotion. Her next step could be anything, as long as she has a plan.
Here is your guide to writing and setting your New Year’s Resolutions. It does require some work. I often analogize this with going into business and writing up your business plan. Once it’s completed, use it. You are your biggest asset. We at Personal Restart wish you the most success. If you need to talk to us during those bumpy times, as they will arise, we are more than happy to serve you and keep you going. You can do it!