We all do it: Make a “resolution” or “goal” to work toward and inevitably a few weeks go by and there are a number of reasons or excuses why you feel you can no longer continue working toward that goal. Perhaps it’s transitioning to a clean diet, attempting to workout more often, or incorporating more books and reading into everyday life. Whatever the case may be, there are a few tips and tricks that help break down the massive, looming dark cloud of a goal into smaller, tangible steps.
1. Clearly define the goal. The more specific you can be, the more likely you will set yourself up for success. Saying “I want to workout more” is a heck of a lot harder to form a habit or plan around, versus saying “I want to train for my first 5K and run a race in the next three months.” The difference here is crucial and can make all the difference between success and failure.
2. Set an end date. With a clear goal in mind, give yourself a set amount of time that you plan to work toward X goal. One month is an ideal amount of time to strive toward (new habits can form in as quickly as 21 days), but set a time limit that seems reasonable yet also challenging.
3. Recruit a support system. Whether it’s partnering up with a friend to tackle a new workout program, joining a virtual community for online support, or participating in a group activity to work toward your goal, having a support system is absolutely key. For myself personally, I love participating in group workouts and running races with friends in order to stay motivated and let’s face it, to have more fun throughout the training.
4. Recognize the milestones. Reward yourself for achieving small milestones on the journey toward the bigger goal to continue the momentum and overcome any hurdles along the way. If you are transitioning to a paleo diet, for example, consider setting a goal of treating yourself to a new recipe book or kitchen utensil at the end of week one, and a new workout top at the end of the first month.
5. Measure progress along the way. This will look different for everyone, depending on your preference for keeping your journey private or sharing progress with your social networks. A personal journal, to do list, or Pinterest board of progress might be motivating, or consider incorporating the aid of websites and apps. I’ve personally used stickK and Mint to track goals, and have heard great things about Lifetick and Strides to help you keep on track.
As one of my favorite quotes in the hook “This Year I Will…” by M.J.Ryan says: “Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risk. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the TV and treat life as if it goes on forever.” Which version of “most people” do you want to be? Whatever your goal may be, don’t be afraid to get started working toward your future vision today.
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