As you well know, the first of January is a big date for setting resolutions. Perhaps you’ve set a few resolutions during the years yourself. Unfortunately, within a few short weeks, many resolutions are long forgotten and people return to old habits. Don’t fret. There’s a foolproof approach that has proven successful over the years especially when it comes to health-related issues. The best part about it- you don’t have to wait until January to begin.
The key to accomplishing goals is getting started. Many people have a plan in their head, but the plan never comes to fruition simply because they don’t take the time and energy to write it down. Whether you’re tech savvy and put your goal(s) into your device of choice or take the analog route and write it in your personal planner, research shows getting your thoughts physically out (paper or device) is more effective than storing them in your head.
Now that you have your goal out of your head and physically visible, the next step is to break your goal down into manageable chunks. I call these “mini goals”. You may be asking for an example right about now, so here it is:
If my goal is to "drink more water", that’s a bit too general. So, I create smaller goals (mini goals) that will aid in accomplishing the big/general goal of drinking more water. Therefore I can say, "every hour I’m awake, I’ll drink 150-200 ml (or about 6 oz.) of water". This ensures you’re not drinking too much water by guzzling a big Nalgene in one go.
The follow through
Every time you accomplish your "mini goal", quickly log it so you have a bit of extra reassurance that you’ve completed the particular segment of your big goal. Soon, this consistency of behavior will become routine and turn into a habit that’s part of your daily routine. After a while, you won’t even think twice about sipping your 150 ml dose of H2O every hour.
On the flip side
Of course it is unrealistic to believe there will not be setbacks. Sometimes we miss our mini goals and don’t exactly hit our target. That doesn't mean you have failed and need to start all over. During this journey, the nice part about it is you can simply pick up where you left off.
New habits for better living
It takes time to establish new habits as changes do not take place over night. Once you no longer require the use of logging your mini goal accomplishments, it's time to implement a new goal. I created a bank of common goals and associated mini goals. See if you can match up the goals correctly. Remember, using this approach to goal setting can be used for many areas, not only health/wellness.
Best of luck and happy goal setting.
Match the general goal with the more specific goal:
Be more social
Get more sleep
Eat more veggies
Stop eating fast food
Drink more water
Limit fast food consumption to twice a week
Sleep eight hours every night
Exercise four times per week
Drink one cup of water every two hours
Eat more than four different colored veggies per day
Spend time with two different friends during the week