It’s already the third week of January and with the Australia Day long weekend approaching, before you know February will be here. And that means according to research, more than 80% of those who set resolutions will have abandoned them, and by the end of the year 90%* will not have achieved what they set out to. It doesn’t sound promising, does it?
Often, goals can take multiple attempts to achieve and losing heart after a few weeks or months does not mean we need to abandon them until next January. Instead, we need to find a different route to our goal, one we haven't tried before. This might include:
1. Making sure the goals you have set are realistic – for example ‘increasing fitness through exercising three times per week’ is specific, measurable and possible for most of us to work up to, while ‘running a marathon’ when you have never run before is likely to be more challenging and can lead to demotivation.
2. Reframing our New Years’ intentions contributes significantly to the likelihood of achieving these goals. If you have been reading my earlier artices you will know I’m doing things a little differently this year. For example, rather than my usual goal of losing or maintaining a certain weight, I have simply decided to love my body. While that means loving and accepting my body for exactly as it is, that doesn’t mean I plan to eat and drink whatever I like and never exercise. In fact, I believe ‘loving my body’ includes nourishing it with the right foods, keeping it active, and being deliberate about what I put inside it, by perhaps not drinking my usual 8 cups of coffee each day.
3. Understanding the barriers to achieving our goals is one way we can start to reframe them. Sometimes the barriers may be external, but very often they come from within. This barrier may be a confidence issue, a difficulty in connecting in relationships or something from our past that we need to let go of. Being honest with ourselves about these barriers is the first step towards finding a way past them.
4. Diarising a monthly check in with ourselves or an accountability partner in order to assess next steps and progress is an excellent way to stay on track. If monthly feels too much, try quarterly at a minimum. It will help you to ensure you maintain momentum or it will show you that the goal you set may not be as important to you as you thought at the start of the year. Either way, you and your thinking will progress.
5. Getting help when you get stuck can be the difference between achieving the goal you’ve always wanted or putting it on the list again for next year. Help comes in many forms – a financial planner, a private Pilates lesson, support from a spouse, a counsellor, a naturopath, a recruitment consultant.
When you set your goals or check in with yourself in a few months time consider getting help, it may be just what you need.
Cressida Bell Counselling – Anxiety Specialist with a particular interest in perinatal mental health, body image and relationship issues.
Tel: 0466 686 161 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Source: Statistic Brain Research Institute