Sunday, January 1, 2017

Set a goal, but don't call it a resolution, then do it

I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago. I realized that nope, not gonna keep them. So why make myself a liar?

But I think in retrospect, the good part of making resolutions is to take a detailed analysis of your life and figure out that one area that you can make better. Yes, we are all works in progress, and probably have more than one area that needs some readjustment. But really how much can we do at one time and do it well?

What I also learned is that the across the board idea of "loosing weight," or "going to work out more," doesn't really help you change your life for the better. What we need to do is actually be more detailed or more exacting about what it is we want to accomplish.

It's like what teachers do for our children in the IEP. There are overarching goals, but each goal is then broken down into more manageable parts. One goal can have ten steps to fruition. That way as you pass each subset of the goal, you can feel proud without having to wait for the final product.

Also make one goal. Just one. I know that our children may have many goals on their IEPs, and they have to work at every goal throughout the year. But for us, as adults, I personally think that we will be more successful if we hunker down and work on one thing at a time. Besides, when you work hard to accomplish one goal, there may be side benefits that will help us reevaluate what we need to work on in the future.

And one major point too...while New Year's goals are a social convention, it doesn't mean that you can't add a new goal in the middle of the year. If you happen to finish your goal, or even as you see that some of your subset reaches can be part and parcel of another objective, you can find a new achievement to work on.

So in the end. Pick one thing and break it down. Even pick an easy mark.

You want to eat healthier.
Start by saying "I will eat one piece of fruit a day." Then find a fruit you like and eat it.
After eating the fruit for a month, add in having a green salad everyday or every other day.
Then add in cutting back on bad fats.
Then add in good fats.
Figure that once a month you will change, for the better how you eat.
That way you will get used to the new tastes and be ready for the next one. Eventually you will find that you actually crave the better food and want to continue with your food goal. If you had changed everything all at once, that is when you slip back into bad habits.

And if you want to exercise add in that you will exercise for 15 minutes every day.
Or make it three times a week.
Increase it incrementally until you can do 1 hour of cardio 3 times a week.
Add in core work along the way. Do 5 minutes at the end of your cardio.
Over several months, as you up your cardio, increase your core work up to 15 minutes.
Then add in free weights or the body weight exercises to add muscle mass.
Go slow.
You will be more successful that way.
If you demand hours of exercise at the very beginning, you will not only become frustrated and quit, you will most definitely injure yourself.

See your goal as a year long exercise, where you are trying to simply change to a healthier lifestyle. So by the end of 2017, you will be successful.

Maybe you want your goal to be that you will begin blogging.
Pick a service you like.
Take your time to set up a site.
Also don't say you will post every day or even once a week. Look at it realistically and decide that you will post every other week or even once a month, and slowly increase your output. You will find the more you do it, the easier it will get.

Maybe you want to go back to school or find a new career.
Go to the online services like Coursera, or Lynda.
Try out different classes.
See where you can put your talents.
Take one class at a time, and see if you can slowly figure out a new path.
Don't rush into several courses at once.
If you fail, you will never know if it was because there was too much on your plate, or that you really simply didn't like the courses you took.


So what ever you plant to do, or whatever goal you decide to embrace, remember to go slowly, forgive yourself if you get distracted, and simply turn around and start again.