I will go ahead and admit it. I lurve me some resolutions. But… I know most people make em and and break em, so I am here to help make some goals that can actually be met.
Common resolutions like “lose weight” or “save money” ultimately start and end the first week of January. Why? There are a lot of blogs/books that break down goals into little bitty pieces and complicate things, but it all boils down to one thing: it’s too dang vague. Oh yeah? You are going to lose weight? How? Doing what? And why haven’t we been doing this all along?
Goals will be met if there is a plan! So instead of stating the outcome as your goal, restate your goal as an action goal. What are you going to DO in 2014. Here are a few examples of how to change a vague goal into an action goal:
Vague, sucky goal: I’m going to lose 20lbs in 2014! (high fives all around! Woot woot!)
Action goal: I’m going to exercise 4x a week for 1 hour each day, 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weight training.
Vague, sucky, never-going-to-happen goal: I’m going to save a ton of money in 2014! Gonna be super stacked! Dolla dolla bills ya’ll!
Action goal: I’m going to write up a budget that saves me $300 a month and I’m going to follow it! Yay math!
See the difference? I mean, outcomes are the reason you try to make these resolutions, I get that. However, that seems to be the never-ending problem with health and fitness. Wish for the accomplishment without giving any real thought to the work that is involved to reach that milestone.
So I encourage you to stop and think, before you are popping the bubbly and smooching your date, to write out your goals on paper. Yep, old fashioned paper and a pen or pencil. Underline your goal. Then ask yourself, what will I have to do to accomplish this? Make a list. Brainstorm. Write down everything and anything you can think of that you are willing and able to do to reach that goal. And be honest with yourself. Can you afford that crossfit membership? Can you get up at 4:30am before work? Really??? Be realistic, and also understand that it will probably look a little daunting. Then draw a line across the paper after the idea dump. Look at your list. Pick out one or two tasks that, if followed through with, would snowball into more and more tasks accomplished. A task that if you complete it, other tasks would naturally be completed. For example, if you chose “go to the gym 4x a week for an hour each day,” you would naturally have to get a membership and get some new workout duds.
Now, under the line, re-write your goal as an inclusive action statement. Make it say what you are going to actually DO that will take you to your ultimate goal, without stating the ultimate goal itself. Don’t worry about it including every little thing in your brainstormed list. As I said before, they will all get done by default. When you commit to your action goal, doing the little things will seem more do-able because you have taken out the vagueness and put in something tangible you can accomplish. You know it is not going to be easy, but that’s ok, because you have been honest with yourself and tailored your action goal to be something you know you CAN do!
That’s why you haven’t gotten to saving money yet; it’s hard. That’s why most people do not reach their goals, small and large. They are goals because they are something you want to do but it is an uncomfortable thing to do. But if we are really putting ourselves out there and truly reaching for more, these goals should be scary. Uncomfortable. Even intimidating. If they don’t scare you at least a little bit after you have wrote down what it will take to get there, then you are not aiming high enough.
So happy goal setting, peeps! I’d love to hear what your action goal is for 2014! Comment below and tell us.