3 Ways To Make Your New Years Resolutions Attainable

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Let's talk about New Years Resolutions. According to Forbes, by June, 64% of us will have already abandoned our New Years Resolution... and that's only out of those of us who make a resolution to begin with. Those aren't the best odds, are they?

I used to be avidly against New Years Resolutions. It seems that people rarely achieve the aspirations they set for themselves as the year turns, so I tried to stay away from even setting a goal that was associated with the new year. But this year, I'm turning over a new leaf.

I'll be back tomorrow to discuss my New Years resolutions and give you advice on how to accomplish your fitness resolutions and nutrition resolutions. But, for now, we're going to take a crack at why people tend to fail when it comes to their ability to achieve their NYE goals.

This post is designed to help you re-frame your goals so that they will be attainable!

Reason Number 1: Your goal is too vague.
Vague goals simply don't empower you to reach the end. Think of it this way: If you have no idea where the finish line is or how many miles you have to run, it would be much more difficult to run a race. The same goes for goals and resolutions. If you decide that you want to "get fit" or "get trim," you're doing yourself a disservice here. Sure, getting in shape is a good thing to work toward, but your goal is not specific. What does it mean to be fit and trim?
To resolve this issue, try re-framing your goal. For example, instead of trying to "get fit," aim to "work out at least four days a week."

Here are a few other suggestions for goal re-framing:

Fitness related goals (such as "get in better shape" or "slim down") can be re-framed as...

  • My goal is to work out at least four days per week.
  • My goal is to surprise my body by incorporating one new workout routine each month.
  • My goal is to start weight lifting once a week (or, if you're already weight lifting, to add another day of weight lifting each week).
  • My goal is to run at least twice a week, and increase my distance by a quarter mile every two weeks.
  • My goal is to run a marathon.

Food and Nutrition related goals (such as "eating better," "eating healthy," or "watching what I eat")...
  • My goal is to eat salads for lunch at least 5 days a week.
  • My goal is to pre-make my lunch salads at the beginning of each week.
  • My goal is to avoid McDonalds this year.
  • My goal is to only drink alcohol one night per week.
  • My goal is to avoid alcohol on week nights.
  • My goal is to cook dinner at home and only eat out one night per week at the most.
  • My goal is to drink 8 glasses of water per day, at least 5 days per week.

Organization related goals (such as "get organized")...
  • My goal is to start a calendar and keep it updated with all of my activities.
  • My goal is to take everything out of my closet, put back in only the clothing I should keep, and get rid of the rest.
  • My goal is to put all of my clothing either in the laundry or back where it came from, avoiding ever leaving clothes draped over my bed or chair, etc.
  • My goal is to create a spreadsheet to start tracking all of my financial obligations.
  • My goal is to find out how to start automatically paying my student loans (or other loans), and then implement that plan.
  • My goal is to make a list before grocery shopping, every time.

Reason Number 2: Your goal needs to be segmented.
There are other goals that, while they are specific, still need to be broken into segments. Take, for instance, your "quit smoking" goals. Some people can go cold turkey, but some people need to par down slowly. Here are a few examples of goals that can and should be segmented. In general, this list should include anything that would need to ramp up over time. Some of the above goals, such as running a marathon, can also be segmented using a training plan.
  • "My goal is to lose fifteen pounds" can be turned into "My goal is to lose five pounds by April 30th, another five pounds by August 30th, and another 5 pounds by December 31st."
    Note: A goal like this should also be accompanied by some of the fitness and nutrition goals above.
  • "My goal is to finish planning my wedding" can be turned into "My goal is to book ceremony and reception venues by February 1st, book a photographer by March 1st, and book food and other vendors by April 1st."
    Note: Believe it or not, this is very similar to a marathon goal. When planning a goal like this, it's a good idea to do a Google search or Pinterest search to find some tineline suggestions.

Reason Number 3: Your goal is unrealistic.
If your goal is unrealistic, you're setting yourself up for failure. Sometimes, failing just once or twice can make us lose our inspiration for the goal in its entirety. Be understanding of the fact that you will occasionally disappoint yourself - nobody is a rock star all the time. So, try to build in a margin of error that will allow you to give yourself a break while still working toward your goal. Here are a few examples of goals that might be unrealistic. Be sure to keep your own abilities and personality in mind, as some of these will differ for each of you.
  • "My goal is to lose thirty pounds." (Or any said amount of weight)
    Is that really attainable for you? For some of us, losing thirty pounds would be unhealthy. For some of us, it's simply not in our DNA. To find out what your target weight should be (or at least to get a ball park estimate), try this calculator from FitWatch.
  • "My goal is to become Director of my department." (Or any career goal)
    Is that really attainable for you? Depending on where you currently stand, some career aspirations may be out of reach for the next twelve months. Consider looking at an organizational chart of your company and setting a goal for yourself to get one promotion to the next level up the ladder.
  • "My goal is to skip dessert." (Or any other act of abstaining from something)
    Is this really attainable for you? For some of us, this is something we can do. But for others, it is too difficult to hold out all together. Then, when we lose willpower and eat that delicious slice of Tiramisu in February, we feel as though we've already blown the goal and give up. Instead of giving up, consider making the goal more realistic by allowing yourself ice cream but avoiding desserts while out at restaurants, or limiting yourself to one restaurant dessert per month.

There you have it! So, have any of you re-framed your goals? Or did you have them adequately set from the beginning? 

Comment on this post to commit to your new years resolution and share it with the world!

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