How to Create Lasting Change and Reach Your Goals
During my holiday break, one thing I did was watch a movie called Albert Nobbs. Glenn Close, in a brilliant performance, plays a woman who pretends to be a man in 19th Century Ireland so she can work as a waiter. Albert’s dream is to open a shop, so she needs a higher paying job than a woman would be permitted to have, hence her pretense and secret life.
Albert’s goals caused her to become who she needed to be so she could reach those goals.
This got me thinking: who do I have to become to reach my goals? For example, to see continued business success, I am becoming someone who thinks and acts like a successful business owner. I adjust my habits, take action, track my numbers, invest in my business, hire help, network, spend time with sucessful, like-minded people, follow-up on leads and build relationships. These are all behaviours I see in successful people whom I admire, and so I model them.
Who do YOU have to become to reach YOUR goals? What kind of person lives the life you want for yourself? What can you change to become more like that person? Today’s article will help you get there!
Since I specialize in ezines I see a LOT of articles. This time of year, most people are writing about change, new year’s resolutions, goals, plans, etc. Last week, a client wrote one such article and it blew me away. This is one of the best I’ve seen and includes practical steps to achieve whatever goals and plans you set for yourself. I asked for and received permission to re-print this article so I could share it with you.
New Year’s Resolutions that Stick
Guest Post By Lisa Fox Bail
Most advice about making New Year’s Resolutions follows the same formula – make a SMART goal (i.e. one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Following this formula, I might resolve to lose 5 pounds by the end of January. I could do this by cutting back on my eating, and adding in more exercise. Great, right? On paper it is a simple formula, but in real life it usually doesn’t really work. Why is this?
Well, the problem is that the SMART formula doesn’t help create lasting change. We don’t have switches where we can just ‘turn off’ unhealthy eating and ‘turn on’ exercise. We are more complicated than that. We have our minds and emotions to deal with; with mindset, motivation, and internal dialogue as pieces of the puzzle. We have to learn how to get our minds wrapped around creating a change in order for it to last. Without doing this you’ll just end up making the same resolution year after year, never making any progress.
But, change doesn’t have to be hard – we just need to look at things differently. Follow the advice below if you want a New Year’s resolution that is going to ‘stick’ (i.e. one that you’ll be able to keep the whole year long, not just the first few weeks of January):
1. Start small. The smaller a change is, the easier it is to make. E.g. don’t plan to run a marathon at the end of the year if you’ve never run before! While this may work for some people, they are the exception not the rule. For most of us, a goal of this size will be overwhelming and our minds will resist and come up with excuses to not let it happen.
2. One at a time. Only make one change at a time. E.g. don’t suddenly overhaul your diet. Instead, you might start by adding an extra serving of vegetables to dinner every day. Wait until you get comfortable with this change, usually it takes a couple of weeks, before adding in another change. Trying to change more than one thing at a once is more daunting and scatters your focus and efforts.
3. Focus on the positive. Unless you’re a smoker, don’t make a resolution to stop doing something. For example, instead of resolving to stop eating fast food, resolve to make healthier choices (like grabbing a pita instead of a burger). Over time you will add more and more healthy behaviors and crowd out unhealthy ones. Your mind and emotions work in better harmony when focusing on positive resolutions and you’ll feel less internal resistance.
4. Your big ‘why’. Determine why you want to make a change in the first place. Is it to feel better about yourself? Because you want to be a positive role model for your children? Or to just get through your day with more energy? Whatever your reason, this will be your motivation; this is your big ‘why’. Create some sort of reminder for yourself (either a photograph, a vision board, a goal statement, or an affirmation) and post it somewhere meaningful so that your ‘why’ stays in the front of your mind. Sometimes when the going gets tough, all we need is a little reminder of why we’re on this path.
5. Support. Be aware that most people will just pat your back and tell you it is ‘ok’ when you’ve gotten off track. Although, we all need unconditional love and support, this will not help you reach your goals. You need someone who can creatively brainstorm with you, help you determine why you got off track in the first place, how to adjust your strategy, and how to get back moving in the direction of your goals. This is the role of a coach or mentor – make sure you have one!
So there you have it – a simple guide to creating New Year’s resolutions that stick. Although change is never really ‘easy’, working with your inner self (mind, emotions, etc) is much easier than the struggle, fight, and disappointment that usually result from New Year’s resolutions. I believe that we all have the potential for an amazing year ahead – and that mindset will make all of the difference!
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Lisa Fox Bail is a certified kinesiologist specializing in corporate yoga and wellness programs, weight loss mentoring, prenatal yoga and mom & baby yoga classes. Her passion is educating people and empowering them to take steps to improve their lives. Visit her website here and facebook page here.
One of the most basic tools I use to move toward my goals each day is my online calendar. You probably use one too but are you using it effectively?
Not only do I track appointments, etc., I also create reminders of daily and weekly tasks so they are scheduled and I don’t forget. I also set it up to email reminders to me 30 minutes before each task is to start. Some examples include time for social media, updating my income and expense tracking sheets, desk clutter cleaning, follow-ups, business development, coaching homework and more. When I start a task, I set a timer for how long I’ve allotted to the task and work until the timer rings.
It is a simple thing to do but if you do it, I promise you will get more done. You will also feel better about yourself and your life, plus be taking daily steps toward your goals.