Christmas is fast approaching and along with it the time when we perhaps think about some New Year’s Resolutions. Gemma pondered over this popular annual tradition.
Before you start planning your weight loss and fitness regime for 2019 though, I’d be interested to know what happened to last year’s resolutions. Are they long forgotten, languishing in the dusty realms of your bag along with an unwrapped boiled sweet and some loose change? Or are they regularly read, reviewed and celebrated once they become successes? Chances are that if they exist on a scrappy piece of paper on which the ink is barely legible you won’t have made a huge amount of progress. So, before you put pen to paper this year, let’s have a look at some success factors for target setting.
Targets or outcomes should be set in the positive by which I mean you should describe what you want to achieve rather than what you want to avoid. So, “I want to lose weight” or “give up smoking” isn’t a good target; think of phrasing it in the positive instead, so “I want to wear my size 12 dress” or ”I want to be a non-smoker.”
You need to be able to measure progress towards your outcomes and know when you have achieved them. How will you know that you’re on track and what will you see, hear and feel when you have achieved them?
Be specific about when and where you want to achieve your outcomes. If you want to move house in the next year you might want to have moved by June to a location within 10 miles of where you currently live, if so set this as your goal.
When setting your outcomes there are some other important factors that you should consider. What resources do you have to help you achieve them, for example, you could enlist a friend as a training partner. Do you know anyone who has already succeeded? If so, go and quiz them! Find out what they did and how they did it in order to achieve their goal and then copy it shamelessly. No one ever said you had to be a pioneer.
How much of this outcome is under your direct control? Do you need to influence anyone else in order to make it achievable? You should also consider what you might have to give up in order to achieve your outcomes and also what the consequences are of achieving them. It’s important not to gloss over these questions as you might decide in hindsight that an outcome wasn’t what you were seeking afterall.
So, you’ve got your outcomes (or New Year’s resolutions) all sorted. Next step, write them down. Not on that scrappy bit of paper this time but take time and effort to commit them to ‘paper’. This might be on good-quality writing paper in your best handwriting or in a nicely designed document on your computer but wherever they are make sure they are accessible and regularly read; and by regularly I mean once a week at least. By keeping them in the forefront of your mind you will spot opportunities that might otherwise have passed you by.
Finally, and here’s the leap of faith bit, you not only need to believe that your outcome is possible, but that you have the ability to achieve it. You might not have got there yet but that’s because you haven’t yet reached the limit of what you are capable of. Imagine what it will look like, feel like, sound like when you’ve been successful. Create a compelling picture in your mind’s eye – now you are only a stone’s throw away from achieving it.
Have fun deciding what you’d like to achieve in 2019… the world’s your oyster.