"I'm not going to eat chocolate after dinner.....on the weekends".
"My resolution is to exercise more this year....considering I hardly exercised last year".
"I'm going to stop having my daily sundae with hot fudge...but I'll keep the sprinkles".
"No more drinking for me...for the next two weeks".
You know what I personally think of New Year's resolutions?
A much better and potentially more successful way to go would be to work on setting a goal. Notice I said, "work on setting a goal". A goal is not just a vow you make five martinis deep on New Year's Eve for the upcoming year. A lot goes into setting a goal when done right and for it to be successful. If you're looking to make a change, lets take a look at what it takes to set a goal. There might be more to it than you think.
First, set one goal. No "I want to lose ten pounds and stop eating popcorn and get to three Zumba classes a week and....". Instead of asking for a wish list, ask for one thing. Setting just one goal goes along way towards determining your level of success. It's been estimated that your chances of success are around 80% if you just set one goal. Try to accomplish two goals at the same time and you're chances of success go down to 20% for each goal. That's a big difference. Set one goal. Achieve one goal. Move onto another goal.
Second, a goal has to be well defined. It shouldn't be, "I want to get in better shape" or " I want to tone up my arms". Exactly what kind of shape do you want to be in? Exactly how much weight do you want to lose? You have to be more specific and the goal has to be measurable. There should be a number attached to your goal. "Saying I want to lose 10lbs" or "I want to take an inch off my waist" are goals. It has to be able to be measured to be a goal. A goal being well defined also means setting a time line for your goal. Once you've defined a goal that can be measured, how much time should it take you to get to your goal? Have an amount of time you want to lose that weight or drop that body fat in as long as that timeline is realistic. Unless you are unlucky enough to be selected to participate on The Biggest Loser, losing an amount of weight in a short time period is not realistic without going to extremes. Instead, set a realistic time frame. Once you get to the end of that time frame and you've been successful, it's just time to set another goal with another realistic time frame.
Third, goals are put down in writing. Dr. John Berardi, who directs very successful weight loss coaching programs states, "If it's not written down, it's not a goal. It's a wish or a dream". Simply stated. Write down your goal and once you do place it somewhere so that it constantly reminds you. Everyday take a look at your goal. In addition to writing it down, tell everyone you know about your goal. Tell your best friends. Tell your worst friends. Tell your mother. Tell that that chain smoker who just set some crappy New Year's resolution. Having it written down and telling others will create some accountability.
Lastly, the goal has to have some sort of significance. This is my main objection to New Year's resolutions. There really is no significance to most New Year's resolutions. They are just done because the calendar has turned another page or because it's the thing to do. It's really just a conversation piece, one that I will quickly walk away from. To me that's not enough of a significance. There's no real inspiration there. But if you set a a well defined goal there probably is some significance to it, one that you can be emotionally attached to whether it's for personal reasons, professional reasons or health related reasons.
Goal setting is not easy. It takes time and it takes thought. But success for most has never come easy. If it did, you are either lucky, gifted or lying.
Have a happy and healthy 2011 everyone.