As we begin 2011 with high hopes for a terrific year, many people establish New Year resolutions designed to bring future prosperity and happiness (Changing Habits for Life Success). Better physical health driven by weight loss motivation is one common resolution, easily witnessed by the dramatic increase in numbers at your local gym at the start of each new year. Unfortunately, the goals that were first met with great enthusiasm sometimes get forgotten, leading to the same old patterns and habits.
you have set some new goals for 2011, and want to give yourself the best chance at reaching those goals, check out the following tips designed to help:
1. The first thing to think about when setting a new goal is the relative importance of the goal to you. More simply, for true, long-lasting change to occur, you cannot “kinda want” to change. Think about that for a minute – most of the goals people set center around over-eating, over-drinking, over-eating, and other challenging human experiences. For example, if you have smoked cigarettes regularly for 20 years, you are going to really, really want to stop in order to have the resolve needed for the change. In my professional experiences, I have found that only when a person becomes desperate or inspired that true changes occur. Without this type of conviction, it becomes too easy to fall back into old habits.
2. Once you are ready for change, specific, measurable goals need to be set. Unfortunately, many people set vague goals that cannot be tracked, often leading to frustration and failure. For example, rather than setting a goal to “get in better shape,” try to instead set a specific weight or pant size to measure. This way, your progress can be more readily seen, leading to even more motivation and resiliency toward stress.
3. After your goals have been set, talk to important people in your life to get their support. Many research studies show that social support is a mediating variable when it comes to behavior modification, meaning that when people support and encourage our efforts, we are more likely to stick with our goals.
4. When you begin working on your goals, it is also important to work out any issues that might get in the way as you move forward. It is important to ward off future stressors by inoculating yourself to them – this mans to think ahead and plan out strategies for success when adversity eventually gets in the way. Stress inoculation is an invaluable tool that can really help when working toward future goals.
5. Finally, set goals that you feel are important! Sometimes in life we do things for others, which works in the short run but usually dissipates quickly. Extrinsic motivation can be effective for short-term change, but it usually requires intrinsic motivation for longer change. When a person is intrinsically motivated, goals are usually looked at as life changes because they have much more meaning to the individual compared to simply doing something to pleas others.