Resolved! - A Motto Health Coach's Guide to New Year's Goal Success
New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep. In fact, they’re so hard that you could spend a whole day down a rabbit hole of jokes about it.
"My New Year’s resolution is to stop procrastinating….
But I’ll wait until tomorrow to start."
Or another one of our favorites:
"I love when they drop the ball in Times Square …
It's a nice reminder of what I did all year."
Ha! That's hilarious. Except when those dropped balls are things you really cared about. This new year, your Motto Health Coaches want to set you up for success, so we’re going to let you in on all the secrets of what it takes to choose – and follow through with – a “good” new year’s resolution.
Step 1. Choose Wisely
What do we mean by a “good” resolution? This simply means it’s good for you. But how do you know if it’s good for you?
Start by asking yourself one question: How would my life be different and better if I accomplished this goal?
Take your time to answer. For now, leave aside how you would get there. Just paint a full picture of what your life would look like if you were able to do it.
Now reflect: How does your answer make you feel?
Does your vision fill you with hope and positivity? (Or do you just feel….blah?)
Is your vision crisp? Can you see the details of how your day-to-day life would improve if you made this change? (Or is it kind of fuzzy?)
A goal that’s good for you will bring a feeling of resonance. You’ll find yourself nodding your head, smiling and thinking, “Yes! This is really right for me!” If you feel great about your goal…fantastic! Move on to Step 2.
If you don’t feel great about it, it’s probably not (yet) the right goal for you. Let’s problem- solve! Here are some common pitfalls in making goals, and tips on how to avoid them:
Pitfall #1: It’s not really your goal.
Maybe someone bossy told you you “should” make this goal. Or you read about it on a smarty pants blog and figured you “ought to” try it. But when you really think about it, it doesn’t make sense for you.
Tip: “Should do it” is not the same as “want to do it.” If this is you, dig deeper. What do you want to do? What does feel right? Maybe it’s a variation or something entirely different.
Pitfall #2: It’s based on deprivation.
We often approach New Year’s Resolutions as some sort of punishment. We haven’t been “good” enough, so now we have to fix that. And usually that means taking away something “fun” (sugar, tobacco, screen time).
Tip: There’s nothing wrong with making a goal to move on from a negative habit that’s holding you back. But challenge yourself to frame it positively. Instead of focusing only on what you would be losing, think about what new things you would be gaining. Can you think of some? If so…great! You’re getting closer. If not, go back to the drawing board and find a new year’s resolution that adds meaning and purpose to your life.
Pitfall #3: It’s too hard!
Ahh, this is a tricky one. You absolutely want to set a goal that feels achievable. And you want it to be a little bit of a stretch. How do you find that just-right spot?
Tip: Start by “chunking” your goal. Huh? Keep reading…
Step 2. “Chunk” Your Goals
The next step is to break your goals down into pieces that feel doable to you. This will set you up for success. Our resolutions are often a bit lofty–and that’s great. A goal should be inspiring! But the biggest mistakes people make with goals is thinking they will go from 0 to 100 overnight. To be really successful, you want to break it into pieces–”chunk it!”
Here’s an example: Let’s say your New Year’s Resolution is to increase your physical activity (which, by the way, is an excellent goal for those with autoimmune conditions). You engage in physical activity about once per week now and you want to increase that to 5 days per week. Here’s how you might chunk that into smaller weekly goals:
Chunk 1: “I will walk 2 days this week for 20 minutes each around my neighborhood.”
At the end of the week, check in. Did it happen? Great! Move on. If not, repeat the goal until you have it down. Faster is not better.
Chunk 2: “I will walk 2 days this week for 20 minutes, plus do a gentle stretching class at home one night.”
At the end of the week, check in. How do you feel? Are you sore and want to stay at this level for another week? Wonderful! Congratulate yourself and don’t push too hard. Do this for as long as your body needs. Up the ante only when you feel solid about maintaining this progress.
Chunk 3: “I will walk 3 days this week for 30 minutes, plus take one aqua class at the gym.”
At the end of the week, check in. Get the idea? Keep doing this until you reach your goal of 5 days/week of physical activity.
Here are a few final tips:
You do not have to increase your goal every week. You can stick with one goal for a month if you wish! The important thing is whenever you move the bar on your goal, you take the time you need to really nail it.
If you have a not-so-great week, just start again wherever you can. We can promise you: nobody gets to their goal in a perfectly straight line. Don’t get hung up on perfection!
And finally, don’t be afraid to modify your goal. If you get to 4 days/week of physical activity and you feel good right there, stop, feel great about it, and focus on maintaining your excellent progress.
We at Motto wish you a very healthy and happy new year in which you feel good about your resolutions!
Note: the jokes in this article are from here (we're not that funny): https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/g30082216/best-new-years-jokes/