Fell Off the Treadmill? Get Back on Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions

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March 21, 2012

It is nearly March and many of us who jumped into New Year’s Resolutions with gusto are finding that we have run out of gas. Or maybe we even left our resolutions to die by the roadside. How do we get back on track?

The first step is to reevaluate your resolutions. Were they too vague? Were they too broad? Did they lack a reward system? Were they unrealistic? Did you make too many? These are common problems, but can be easily remedied simply by refining your resolution or creating steps to reach larger resolutions.

If you made too many goals, consider working on one at a time. If they are unrealistic, shift it to a more realistic goal.

Your goals should be precise. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight,” declare how much weight you want to lose and by what date. Instead of saying “I want to save money,” declare how much you want to save and by what date. Instead of saying “I want to exercise more,” state how often and for how long each day.

Don’t stop there. That is like someone giving you a destination to a place you’ve never been, without a map. How do you get there? How do you get to losing 20 pounds? Saving $1000? Exercising more frequently? This isn’t going to happen overnight.

The best way to truly implement change is by taking baby steps – small changes over time to reach your final destination. Having small goals along the way makes your resolution more attainable and you are less likely to give up and quit. Having small goals also instills a feeling of accomplishment, which is empowering and motivating in itself. The more you are able to break down your ultimate goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Here are a couple examples:

Goal: I want to lose 20 pounds by July
How: By eating healthier and exercising more
Mini Goals:
First week: Drink water instead of soda. Allow 3 sodas a week. Eat a serving of fruit or vegetables every meal and eat them first. Eat fruits and vegetables for snack. No dessert 4 days. Exercise 30 minutes 3 days.
Second week: Same as first week but cut out salty snacks. Exercise 30 minutes 3 days, then 10 minutes 2 other days.

Goal: I want to save $1000 a year.
Mini Goals:
First week: Evaluate all bills to see if there are services that can be cut (such as newspaper, magazine subscriptions). Deposit money not spent in the bank.
Second week: Pack lunch 3 days and take them to work. Brew own coffee. Deposit money not spent in the bank.

Goal: Exercise 1 hour 5 days a week
Mini Goals:
Week 1 and 2: Exercise 30 minutes for three days
Week 3: Continue + add 15 minutes two other days.
Week 4: Exercise 30 minutes 5 days a week.

These are by no means a plan you have to follow, just some ideas to get you started thinking.

Establishing smaller goals is like creating a road map for your final destination. They are directions to help you get there. You know yourself and how many mini-goals you will want to establish. Just remember that by having these smaller, more simpler goals, you are less likely to give up (or get lost). It doesn’t matter how small your goals are—if you don’t exercise at all and want to start getting into the habit of it, doing it for 5 minutes a day can be a great place to start. Smaller goals are just like more precise directions.

It is also vital that you write down your goals (including mini-goals) and evaluate them on a weekly or monthly basis. They can always be adjusted up or down, depending upon your progress. If you get off track, hop back on where you can. We all slip up sometimes.

Also, don’t forget to reward yourself! It is important to have rewards for mini-goals. Whether it be a bubble bath, a girls-night-out or some other special treat, do enjoy because it was well earned.

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