We all know the disheartening stats on how many of us ever reach, much less maintain, our New Year’s resolutions.
But here’s the thing… it’s not that we can’t do it.
You certainly can accomplish what you want to accomplish, in spite of obstacles.
You are completely capable of reaching and maintaining any reasonable goal – and even your big bodacious ones.
First let’s look at some common mistakes we make when goal setting:
1. They’re too vague. “I’m gonna eat healthy this year” or “I’m gonna drink more water”
2. They’re too drastic. “I’m never gonna eat any sugar* again”
3. There’s no end. “I’m gonna workout every weekday (…for the rest of my life)”
It’s easy to see how invigorating these bold proclamations might be at first, but we all know how difficult it is to follow through.
There is a different and powerful approach that can work for us rather than against us:
Set Goals with Built-in Exploration & Evaluation
- TEST DRIVE: Instead of “I’m gonna eat healthy this year,” I can decide to actively explore different ways to eat nutritiously. I pick one that jazzes me (let’s say Mediterranean) and then test-drive it for one month. I do a bit of research, prepare 1 to 3 new dishes each week through January, depending on my schedule. I check out a Mediterranean restaurant. At the end of the month I take stock. Have I enjoyed this experiment? Do I want to continue, keep part of it, or scrap the whole thing? Do I want to move on to explore other things like Forks Over Knives recipes, Daniel Plan recipes or Dr. Lugwig’s recipes. There are so many great categories and resources to choose from and any of them that bring vibrant health will fit beautifully within our Liberated Eating lifestyle.
- BE SPECIFIC: Instead of a big vague goal like “I’m gonna drink more water,” I could decide that this week I’m gonna fill my favorite purple water bottle each morning, put it on my desk in plain sight and drink it by lunch, then repeat for the afternoon. I might also put an hourly drink reminder on my phone. After one week I evaluate. What part of this worked for me? What specifically didn’t work? What supports can I put in place this next week in order to get a better outcome?
- TIMED TRIAL: “I’m gonna workout every weekday.” What if I build in some wiggle room here and decide to give this lofty goal a whirl for two weeks and then evaluate? This way I don’t set myself up for feeling guilty when it becomes clear that 5 days a week is unreasonable for real life. No wiggle room adds unnecessary stress to our lives – so allow for wise adjustments.
Here’s what we know:
No one’s gonna stick with anything that isn’t manageable and enjoyable on some level –
no matter how good it might be for them,
so discovering what fits YOU is vital work.
Choosing specific behaviors for a limited amount of time means you’re never stuck. Building in evaluation and re-calibration means you’re spending 2018 moving ahead at a speed and trajectory you will enjoy!
*In my coaching practice I work with a few liberated eaters who have found, through exploration and coaching over time, that eating a sugar-free menu is best for them. This decision may come because of medical reasons or because they discover that living moderately with sugar is a battle they would rather not fight. For these people, eating sugar-free is not a diet. It is not forced deprivation or restriction. It is a very personal, thoughtfully chosen path that brings them the peace and health they desire.