I’m sure that you have a lot of goals for 2014. I do! Right about now, I feel like I have a laundry list of things I want to accomplish—especially some health and wellness goals.
I’ve learned that, after the holiday rush, it’s better to treat myself with kindness than to overwhelm myself with yet more to-dos.
However, there is real value in setting goals—and there are real methods for making them attainable without driving yourself crazy.
These 4 ½ tips can help reframe your goals so that they become more tangible and even more fun.
It’s fine to set a goal of climbing Everest. But maybe for the short term, you might start with a rock climbing class. Or even a challenging hike.
Start with things you can do right now and make them convenient and attainable. Small goals are more actionable and tend to trick your brain into making an incremental change so you can build momentum.
Don’t just say you will “exercise;” say you will run, walk or lift weights each day, or attend a yoga class twice a week.
Don’t just say you’ll “take better care of yourself.” Say you will enjoy your hot tub for 20 minutes, get 15 minutes more sleep a night, or any specific goal, that has a simple, clear focus.
Make your goal measurable, too. For example, decide to make that daily walk 20 minutes long, and that by the end of 30 days you will have increased it to 40 minutes. Or, aim to add 15 minutes to your sleep schedule each night, but work toward getting up to an hour by spring.
One at a time.
It’s tempting to make a long list of goals (ergo my “laundry list”), but habits are best broken, made or changed when you attack them one at a time.
If you have multiple goals that you want to achieve, try ranking them in order of importance or urgency. For example “lose 10 lbs. in time for family the reunion in May,” and work on that goal for 30 days.
Once you’ve set your weight-loss plan in motion and it’s becoming part of your routine, you can add another goal.
Be consistent—make a chain.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld had a great rule for implementing consistency in his life when he was an up-and-coming comedian. He made it a goal to write a little material each day, and he’d mark a calendar with a red X for every day that he reached his goal.
After a few days, he had a chain of Xs on that calendar, and his secondary goal became to never “break in the chain.” I think you know how things turned out for him.
The more consistent you are with your actions, the more likely you will be able to maintain a healthy new habit or achieve a goal. In other words, working out 3 times a week makes it harder to stick to your plan than if you work out 5 or even 7 times a week.
This way, your habit has a chance to become ingrained and automatic. Eventually it’s just a routine part of your day. You may even miss it if you don’t get to exercise!
The ½: Use your hot tub regularly.
I’m calling this a “half “ tip, because in reality, it’s a bonus, a reminder of the transformative power you may already be using or have access to in your very own home.
While hot tub use can’t necessarily get you to the top of Everest, it can set you up for more healthy behaviors that will rejuvenate you and make you feel pretty empowered.
When you take time out of your day to enjoy 20 restful minutes in your Caldera spa, you start to want more of that good feeling. So you naturally include the hot tub as part of your daily routine.
Soon, you see things a bit more clearly. You have more energy and you sleep better. And all of that puts you in a better place mentally, physically and emotionally. And then there is nothing to stop you from accomplishing all you set out to do.
Is there a healthy habit that you want to get into? Have you found a great way to make a habit stick? Share your ideas or tips.
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