Are you struggling to achieve your goals? You’re not alone. The majority of people don’t last long before they stumble, get frustrated, blame themselves or others, make excuses, and then give up. Research shows for successful change you truly have to want to achieve it and also have supporting elements to help the change.
People fail on their goals because they are missing elements
to support their success, NOT because they’re incapable.
Use these scientifically proven tips to help you achieve your resolution and any goals throughout the year.
- When you’re creating your goals, make it positive. Our brains can’t process negative statements very well. Think of when you ask your child to “not spill his milk”… what happens? It spills. It’s because the brain thinks in visuals, not words. It forms a picture related to the statement, which is spill milk, and so the brain gets wired for the opposite of what you want and unintentionally focuses on that outcome. The same is true for “stop smoking”, “lose weight” or “reduce clutter”. The brain is reinforced with “smoking”, “weight” and clutter”. Reframe it into what you actually want. To breathe clean fresh air and have fresh breath. To be slim and move with ease. To have a home with clear surfaces.
- Write it down. The process of writing down what you want creates a physical action that makes the brain remember what you want more than if you just think it. A Goals study done at Dominican University in 2015 showed those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.Also, keep your goals visible. Post it where you can see it daily. Small visual cues help to remind your brain of what you want and keep you on track.
- Know why you want it. It’s important to go even deeper than a surface level goal to achieve resolution success. You need to understand the true reason for wanting to change because that creates the motivation behind the goal. Ask yourself, why do I want this? How is this going to improve my life? How does it positively impact others around me? Who am I when I achieve this?
When you answer these questions you’ll have the motivation behind the change and that will help sustain you.
- Create realistic strategies and timelines that don’t overwhelm. Sometimes we get so excited about our goals that we jump in with lots of changes but then realize we can’t sustain all our strategies long term. It creates overwhelm and then frustration and we quit.
One of the keys to long-term success is taking small actionable steps and doing that one thing for a couple weeks. Then build on it. If you’re looking to eat healthier, start with finding one small change you can make to move forward. Perhaps adding more veggies to meals. Once you’re doing that consistently, then add another small change.
When you make small changes that you can achieve, you have more to celebrate. It creates mini wins that will support you to keep going.
- Accountability and having the right support networks helps big time. If you’re serious about achieving your resolution, tell people about your goals and get a partner with a similar goal. Holding each other accountable, as well as cheering them on, helps many people achieve their goals. It’s more fun to do it with a friend… but one that is going to hold you accountable and not let you off the hook.Life and business coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists and other people in a support team are experts in getting results for their clients. They not only have the knowledge, but most have been trained in the psychology of change and habit making. If you’re really committed to making a change, consider hiring an expert to give you the guidance, support, and accountability, especially for those days that you fall off the wagon. They’ll get you back going quickly.
Today is a good day to begin!
The last thought I’d like to leave you with is simply, “today is a good day to begin.” It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. Forgive yourself and let it go. Refocus on why you want to make the change and start again today.
Jenifer Horvath is the founder of Heart Lifted Coaching. She helps moms reduce their overwhelm, stress and guilt, in order to be happier, calmer and live a more meaningful life. She loves Alberta and has lived in Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. When not hanging out with her family or coaching, you’ll find her having dance parties, reading about brain science, and chugging coffee with friends. Find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Originally written for Edmonton’s Child.