We are still in January and many of us have decided about their objectives for 2019, the so-called resolutions. The new year brings with itself the desire of change, the need of renewal. We would like to spend more time with the family, to take that trip that we have been dreaming about for so long, to change job, to enrol in a gym club, to lose weight, to stop smoking…the main goal is feeling better with themselves and with the others.
Why does it happen then that along the way we forget about them or we abandon them?
Here are some questions you should ask yourself.
Are your objectives too much ambitious, vague or simply they are too many? In this case you are putting too much pressure to yourself. If you have decided to stop smoking or to lose 10 kilos, you must ask yourself why you have started smoking and why you are always hungry. Are they not ways for relieving the so many daily tensions?
Are you positive in comparison to the achievement of your objectives? If you think that you will never make it, it is sure that you will never make it. Henry Ford used to say: “If you believe you can make it or if you believe you cannot make it, you will be always right”.
Is your goal appealing? You have decided to lose weight or to stop smoking. As such, they are great objectives. But find a bigger reason for which you want to achieve these objectives. For instance, you want to stop smoking for being able to recover breath faster when you go jogging or you want to lose weight to put again on those beautiful pants that suited you very well.
Bad habits are difficult to lose, above all you need time. As I said before, if you have been sticking to them for years, you have your good reasons (to protect you from stress, for example). You cannot change your habits in some weeks. Some time ago, studies told us that you can take up a new habit in 21 days. Now, neuroscience has found out that you need at least 60 days! Take you your time then, establish a new habit with calm, don’t stretch your body too far, your body is comfortably used to the old habit and it doesn’t feel like to replace it. You must make it understand, day after day, that another way is possible and it is also healthier!
Besides, remember that the path won’t be always linear and you may find obstacles. There will be some easiest moments then others but losing a battle doesn’t mean losing the war. Accept the ups and downs: your body will learn to adapt slowly.
Choose an objective that won’t sound like an obligation, in the sense that it must represent a real choice, a thing that you want to do, not that you must do. Control your thoughts, remember what Henry Ford said. Don’t focus on what you still have to achieve, but celebrate what you have already achieved. List the small victories and congratulate yourself. Stay positive!
Think about the strength that a seed has to become grass. It must come out from the soil to be able to live and flourish. It works slowly under the soil, up to when one day it comes out and sees the light! For you it is a kind of the same thing. Work slowly and one day you will see the results, because you are stronger than you think.
And now the four tips:
1. set one objective at the time, but define it well, use the SMART model (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound). Even though this model has been created for organisations, it may be helpful also to individuals engaged in goal setting.
2. Adopt the strategy of small steps by dividing your objective in some smaller objectives.
3. Celebrate achievements: the first kilo you have lost, the first whole day without smoking. Put some post-it all over your place with your success on it. Tell yourself “Well done!”.
4. Inform your family and friends about your goals and ask them to help you with this. Getting their support will help you in achieving the results. Look for some groups on Facebook that share your same goals, participate in forums on the Internet. Remember that you are not alone, there are other thousands of people that may have your same goals and exchanging ideas with them can be helpful to you. You can create yourself a blog, that can become your journal (a journal on paper is also okay).
Always remember that you are stronger than you believe!