Monday, December 27, 2010

Resolving to Change

I wonder if you all are thinking about resolutions and changes the way I am today?! I think most of us like to start a new year thinking about making positive changes in our lives and relationships. Our January theme on the blog is going to be CHANGES for that reason. We are going to talk about breaking bad habits, setting better boundaries, making positive changes in our relationships, and overall just being better people.

Today, I decided to do a post about goal setting and new years resolutions in order to get you engaged for January. Here are Erica's goal setting and new years resolution tips:

1. Ask yourself a few questions.

This is my first tip because there are some questions that you need to ask yourself before choosing any resolution. Here they are:

  • Is it realistic?
If your goal is to lose 200 lbs by next year..not realistic and not safe, however, if your goal is to lose 4-6 lbs per month, that is realistic.

  • Is it achievable?
If you have not even applied for college, there is no way you can graduate with a BA by next year. Think about what is achievable and go for that. In this case, maybe it is being accepted into college and choosing a major.

  • Why do you want to make the change?
There a lot of reasons to change something. There is change just for the sake of change. There is change that is for your children. There is change for someone you are dating. There is change for better mental or physical health and a million other options. Knowing why you are changing this particular thing may help you choose the best resolution(s)

  • Will it improve your life?
Obviously the answer to this should be yes or you are choosing the wrong resolution. If you want positive change in your life, you have to choose things that will improve your life and will not cause more pain or more discouragement. A great example is making a goal of buying a new car when you are already in debt by several thousands. This might improve your immediate driving circumstances but will probably add stress to your life.

2. Create a plan

This is imperative when making resolutions because the difference between success and failure is always a plan. A great example is if you want to try to organize your home in 2011, make a list of projects that need to be completed and around how much time each project will take. Let's see you have piles of paperwork to go through and shred and file. You should make a plan to spend a certain amount of time each day going through the papers so that your goal can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Overwhelming yourself with giant projects and not breaking them down will only lead to them being a part of 2012's resolutions.

3. Reward yourself along the way

My best advice for any lasting change is to make sure and give yourself rewards as incentives. A great example is if you would like to lose weight and you make a goal of losing 2 lbs per week, you could give yourself a small gift of reward (non food related) for those 2 lbs being lost. Maybe you love lip gloss, give yourself a new lip gloss or pair of shoes when you lose a certain amount. Make short term and long term goals and rewards. Make the longer term rewards better!

4. Change for good

A lot of times people will make a resolution and change things only to go back to doing them again. If you make a resolution to change something negative in your life or to include something more positive in your life, consider doing it slowly and consistently. That is where true change occurs. A great example is wanting to stop speeding especially when your children are in the car. You can obviously see why this is a great change to make, however, it is easier said than done. Take it one car trip at a time and you will more likely stop that behavior than if you try to cut out all speeding and never stop to look at your changes. Always recognize a great change.

5. Visualize success

This may sound a bit cheesy to some of you but visualizing yourself changing this behavior or making your resolutions come true is a great way to have it happen.

Here is a full example of a new years resolution using my tips so that you can follow along:

Jackie would like to start exercising more in 2011. She is of average weight but finds herself getting very fatigued after a day of work and often spends her evenings sitting on the couch watching TV. When her friends ask her to do something active she opts out because she is afraid she will grow quickly tired and be difficult to deal with. She really wants to get in better shape by 2012 and has decided to make that her New Years Resolution.

Step 1: Jackie asks herself the important questions:

A. Is it realistic? Yes. There is no problem with Jackie's resolution. So far it is vague and doesn't insist upon too much.

B. Is it achievable: Yes. A lot of people get in great shape in way less than a year so this is reasonable request on her part.

C. Why do you want to make the change? Jackie wants to change this for her overall health and even her social life. She wants to be able to do active thing with her friends, have more energy and increase her life span. GREAT REASONS

D. Will it improve your life? Yes, Jackie will be able to do activities with her friends, will have more energy for her job and life, and will most likely add a few years of life and possibly eliminate risk of illness as well. This will very much improve her life.

2. Create a Plan:

Using Jackie's goal, her plan should be reasonable since she does not exercise at all right now. First she will start off by adding activity into her day gradually. This may mean she signs up for an exercise class or gets a gym membership. She also may start walking on her lunch break with friends or start some sort of walking group. She can also just make herself an appointment each day for 30 minutes of exercise. After she is in better shape, she may take up a sport or specific exercise and try to train more specifically. At first, the key is start small.

3. Reward yourself along the way:

Jackie has decided that 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is her first goal and she wants to do that for a week. After the week is over, Jackie is going to get a manicure if she has completed each day's activities. She has also made a long term goal of a month (30 minutes per day). Jackie has been reasonable and decided that if she exercises for 30 minutes per day for at least 20 days of the month, she will buy herself a new piece of clothing. Having reasonable goals and rewards is always nice because you may set yourself up for failure if not.

4. Change for Good:

Jackie has decided in order to stick with her plan, she will get a support group of people who exercise regularly to check up on her and encourage her. She has also decided to begin scheduling more active type outings with her friends for other opportunities to exercise. She has also added eating better to her life to fuel her for the coming work outs. Overall, Jackie's chances for success are huge!

What do you want to work on in 2011?

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