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I’m ditching resolutions for more realistic goals

So, as we enter February, are you still on the “New year, New me” wagon? Or did you fall off? Possibly got run over by it? Maybe your goal is just to survive this year after the dumpster fire that was 2020.

Were you reeled into a fad diet to help you cut the extra covid 19 lbs…or 30lbs? Did you blink and somehow you find yourself with three different subscription boxes coming to your door for shakes, workout items and beauty products? I feel you. I have been there. I am not judging. I just got rid of my prenatal yoga and pilates, that after 3 babies, were still in the wrapper.

There are a million new career opportunities that will make you a million dollars overnight. Spoiler alert-they don’t really work that way for everyone. Drink this shake, but not that one. Buy this book. Your whole life will change. 2021 is going to be your year.

Or, maybe it won’t.

Let’s do something different

January was a doozy of a month. What a way to start out the new year! I personally have never been the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions, though I have found myself falling prey to them more than once. For 2021, I’m proposing something different. Maybe not revolutionary, but different. Stick with me here.

Sometimes on a whim we decide we are going to make a huge change in our lives and in ourselves.

Let’s stop pretending we are going to change our whole lives in the blink of an eye. I am sure that a lot of people had some pretty awesome plans and ideas for 2020, and well, yeah we know that turned out. Instead, let’s look for some things that we actually have some control over.
We don’t need an immediate, drastic change, maybe we just need baby steps and a good, solid plan.

And you don’t need a new year or a new month or even a new day to change something in your life. You just need to do it.

Goals are still important

We need goals in our lives. But not because it’s a new year, but because goals are important. We know that having a goal brings meaning and focus to our lives. Writing it down makes it more likely to happen. When we have nothing we are working towards our risk of anxiety and depression increases.
Goals provide a purpose. However, unrealistic goals can be harmful to us. Realistic goals are important and allow us room to grow.

I am not saying to not have high expectations for yourself or set large goals, but I am saying to start with small ones that build toward that larger goal. Success helps us to stay focused and move forward. If it is simply too big, we can become overwhelmed and quit.

Think about gyms, typically they are packed in January, but by March they are almost empty again. The goal wasn’t realistic for most of those people.

Here’s how to make your goals a reality

Here are some examples of ways to take a resolution, unrealistic or unmanageable goal and make it work for you.

You want to start mountain climbing. Probably shouldn’t start with Everest. Maybe try “I am going to increase physical activity and explore natural areas where I live one time a week.” You can always create a new goal that is more challenging as you go along and have met the first goal.

Instead of “I’m going to lose 50lbs this year” try-”I’m going to increase my fresh fruits and veggies and decrease processed food intake.”

Instead of “I am going to workout six days a week,” try “I am going to make a goal to do something active three days a week and increase it over time.”

Maybe you have ideas for a big change in your life. Maybe one is really needed. But just making a decision because it is a new year does not require any follow through. If you have a big change you want to make-then start with a plan.

So, if your goal is to get in shape. That is great. But don’t set out with the idea that you are going to work out five days a week and eat kale smoothies. Well, unless you really love kale.

Start off by setting the goal: I want to get healthy and be in shape. Define it: What do you mean by healthy? What do you mean by in shape? Are you looking at a number on a scale or a lifestyle change?

Next: How do you plan to get there? Changing a ton of things immediately often sets us up for failure. Make a list of the changes you want to make in your life and then do one at a time. As one becomes part of your normal life and routine it is easy to add another. It is less daunting and you are more likely to stick with it.

A clear plan is vital to help you reach your goal. We can always use a more positive mindset.  Sometimes even small changes in our lives can make a huge impact overall.

If you want to change something in your life, no matter how big or small, start now. Saying “I’ll wait until next week or month or year” is really just an excuse. I said it. You probably hate me for it, but it’s true. If you truly want it-do it.

And if you don’t have a big, life changing goal, that is fine too. Maybe you want to read more and watch less TV. Also, a great goal.

Goals are personal. What is the right goal for one person, isn’t for another. But overall, working towards goals keeps us motivated, provides us a purpose and helps us to develop ourselves.

Don’t wait until tomorrow.

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