I decided to sign up for a yoga class on January 2nd, and as I walked through the door, I had to stop myself from laughing because the yoga studio was packed. Everyone seemed to have "exercise regularly" at the top of their New Year's resolutions, and we were all determined to start the year strong. Our yoga instructor casually joked about whether or not he’d see us all again next week. Because here's the thing... Everyone is motivated to turn over a new leaf at the beginning of January. Everyone is looking forward to the "new year, new me" moment. However, most of us burn out on our resolutions by the end of March if they lack specificity, accountability, and follow-through.
But don’t give up hope – it doesn’t have to be that way! Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight, and by following a few simple tips, you can see your resolution through all the way to the end of the year.
Choose An Achievable Goal:
Of course, it's important to dream big, but declaring that you want to "run a marathon" this year can be intimidating (especially if running isn't already part of your daily routine!). So, break down that big dream into smaller, more manageable goals. Make it a goal to run 3 to 5 times per week if you want to run a marathon. If you've never participated in a long-distance race before, make "run a 10K race" your goal instead. It doesn't mean you can't dream big; it just means you have to put in the effort and preparation to make that dream a reality.
Create Your Plan of Attack:
This goes hand-in-hand with step one! You have to do your research and make a plan
of attack for how to achieve the goal that you’ve set out for yourself. If you have your heart set on running a marathon, do a lot of research on how to train for one. How many days will you need to go running, and for how many miles each time? Look up how to qualify for a marathon. Will you be able to qualify this year, or will you have to wait until next year? Set up a timeline for yourself and create a detailed plan!
Build A Network of Accountability:
When we decide on a goal without telling anyone about our goal, it can be that much easier to let that goal simply disappear into thin air. However, the opposite can also be true – if you constantly talk about your goal with other people, it can feel like you’re accomplishing something even if you haven’t actually taken any actionable steps towards achieving it. What you need to do instead is find accountability buddies who can check in with you and make sure you are staying on task. Perhaps these are people who are chasing different goals of their own, and you can check in with each other periodically to see what progress you have made. Or perhaps you can find people who have goals similar to yours, and you can encourage each other along the way. If you’re training for a marathon, for example, you can join a local running club and meet people who are also training. And as an added bonus, you’ve made new friends along the way!
Keep A Daily Journal:
Okay, maybe this one seems like a resolution all on its own. But keeping a daily journal doesn’t have to entail you writing pages upon pages of your deepest thoughts and insecurities. It can be as simple as keeping a log of what steps you’ve taken that week towards accomplishing your goal. It can be as quick as writing down one line a day… “Today, I went for a two mile run at lunch.” The simple practice of writing out your accomplishments will help you appreciate all the work you’re putting in. It will also help you assess what is working and what isn’t working for you. Are lunchtime runs difficult to maintain, but after work runs are proving more sustainable? Keeping track of your progress will allow you to better understand what you can do moving forward.
Reward Yourself For Your Wins!
Here’s the fun part… Reward yourself for the progress that you’re making! Give yourself a little pat on the back for all the changes that you are making, big and small. Even an incremental change is still progress on your way to achieving your dream, and it deserves to be acknowledged!
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Written by Jessie Cannizzaro