"...what a person accomplishes in life is directly correlated with the people around them." - John Berardi

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Remembering... After the Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope that you and those you love had a great & safe celebration. I'm excited to continue trying to be a better version of me this year! I decided not to be one more person writing about New Year's resolutions yesterday since we've all probably been bombarded by blogs, emails, and in-person questions about them. So instead, I decided to go up the canyon with my boys and play! Everyone we saw, smiled at the cute little brown bear. It was a good time!

I do want to write some thoughts about how to keep the New Year's resolutions you've just made fresh in your mind and actually work on them throughout the year. There's some crazy stats out there but what it comes down to, is that in general, we're great at making resolutions but not so great at sticking to them. Let's change that :)

At my house, we talk about goals for the new year but we actually like to create a vision board (sometimes you have to see it to believe it!) of 3 month, 6 month, 1 yr, and 5 yrs goals. We typically review our goals multiple times throughout the year but one of our goals this year is to review our goals more often. We've decided to make it part of our weekly coordinating, where we typically go over our schedules for the week (to identify babysitting needs, plan dates & activities), meal planning, etc.

Here's some questions and thoughts to consider when developing a plan for your goals...

Are your goals realistic? Or maybe a better question to ask, are they sustainable? In all reality, only the select few will do something like the Insanity workouts long-term. They're great and intense but may only be a short-term solution in your health goals. Most of the average folks out there (myself included), will eventually get burned out from this type of program. I probably sound like a broken record, but when you make a goal for exercise, find something to do that you enjoy and WANT to do. A goal set with that intention in mind will be much more successful than one that is based on what you think you should do. Remember, with exercise, more is not synonymous with better & about 80% of body composition is a result of your diet.

As you consider a goal, ask yourself "on a scale of 1-10, how likely am I to do this goal?" If you can't answer a 9 or 10, then the goal is too difficult and needs to be adjusted to be easier and more attainable at this point in time. As you work on it, and form new habits, modify the goal to stretch yourself a bit but make sure you can always answer a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10.

How will you remember to work on your goals as often as is necessary to accomplish them? James Clear wrote a blog post about how to stick to little healthy habits. He talks about the importance of changing small things in our environment to help us develop new positive habits. He used the example of flossing. He used to rarely remember to pull the floss out and didn't like the process of wrapping it around his fingers. To develop the habit, all he had to do was buy pre-made flossers (I use them too!) and put them in a little bowl right next to his toothbrush so he didn't have to remember to get them out. Simple as that. Now he flosses every day! The take away I love from that, is to not only make simple alterations to our environment (when possible) but also link the new habit to a habit we already have so that our goals are easier to achieve (he was already in the habit of brushing his teeth).

Here's an example of a previous habit I'm going to piggyback on for a new habit I'm working on this year: One of my goals is to use positive language more often. Sometimes I'm too quick to speak without really thinking through what I'm going to say and my words can be hurtful or not phrased very kindly and patiently. To keep this goal is fresh in my mind, I'm going to check in each day on how well I did or not (with using positive language) by reflecting on the day right after I enter my 3 daily gratitudes into the "Gratitude365" App I use on my phone. I've been quite faithful in my gratitude habit for 433 days now, so I thought this would be a great time to reflect for a couple of minutes longer on the situations where I used more positive language and where I'd like to improve.

Who is helping you accomplish your goals? I am a huge advocate for accountability. Tell someone (or many people) what your goals are this year. Those who care about you, will want to help you accomplish them. They'll ask you about them, which is another great reminder to keep working on them :) My husband and I write our goals in the "Notes" App on our iPhones so that we have them available anywhere we go. We often will go over and talk through them while driving to see family in Idaho or other road trips. This can also be tied back to the concept of altering our environment to increase success by surrounding ourselves with people who have similar goals. It's harder to eat pizza and burgers every weekend when the friends or family you hang out with don't eat those things (or very often). :)

What's the motivation? We created a family vision/mission statement to make sure that our short-term goals fit into our long-term goals. This can be a great decision-making tool as well. If something comes up that is not helping you in your personal or family mission, then it's probably not something you want to do or participate in. James Clear also has an awesome article about identity-based habits that I'd suggest reading!

What strategies do you use to help you remember to work on goals? I'd also love to hear about the fun play you've been doing this week!