Resolutions, NO, Goals, YES
A resolution, from the word resolve, is defined as an intended, firm determination. Like the old advice of practicing “self-control,” a resolution sounds to me like something I’d have to do with a whip held over my head. Goals? Not so much. For me, a goal is something positive that I want to achieve, not a restriction. Positive is good. It’s a new year, right?
The holidays, along with all the food temptations that come with them, are over. It’s time to throw out the leftover goodies and resume normal eating. Normal? That might be defined differently for each of us, I suspect. For me, when it comes to food, there is no “normal”. I’m either closely watching my calorie intake or overeating; seldom anything in between.
An important piece of expert advice about good eating habits has always eluded me; that biggest no-no of all, eating while doing something else: reading, watching TV, or even playing spider solitaire. Why are those combinations so wonderfully delicious? I would defend the practice as doing two things I enjoy at the same time. The experts would tell me I’m trying to maintain an unconscious state in my journey with junk food. (You didn’t think those were carrot sticks and celery stalks, did you?) They would also tell me those activities become linked with eating, and like Pavlov’s dogs, they turn into unconscious triggers for my recreational eating addiction! One of my goals this year will be to work on my compulsive behaviors.
In previous years, my resolutions were predominantly those that were diet related. The good news is, this year I only have two “new” pounds to deal with. No ten pounds of holiday fat for this girl. Unfortunately, I do have more than those two nasty pounds of holiday fat to get rid of, so onward to goals.
A goal can be as simple as a mental picture of something you want to accomplish or it can be a formal outline for the goal’s completion. The most important thing is to choose goals you are excited about achieving in order to motivate you to finish them. If you’re a writer like me, you might want to have a separate list for your writing goals for the week, month, and year.
Some goal guidelines:
1. Write them down. While you’re at it, give them the added formality of typing them and printing them out. Anthony Robbins advocates a five year plan! That’s a tough one—think about what you’d like your life to look like in five years—it’s an eye opener!
2. Have your goal sheet somewhere you will see it every day.
3. Again, make sure each goal is something you are excited about accomplishing.
4. Don’t try to do too many at once. Pick two or three, or even only one if it is something important to you.
5. The more difficult the goal, the more necessary it is to have a list of action steps you will do in order to achieve it. Divide the steps into long and short-term solutions.
6. Procrastination can be overwhelming. Thus emphasizing the need to have increments toward the achievement of your goal. Begin with that baby step—but begin! Many years ago, I was stuck in a job I found unfulfilling and my goal for the year was to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement plan it offered and go back to school for my Master’s degree, a huge task that involved a lot of work just to get started. I took an immediate first step and contacted a university for information about the programs. I began classes that spring and graduated three years later.
Make that first step a small one and make it today. You’ll be surprised how it inspires you to keep going.
I wish all of you dear readers a healthy and amazing 2012! Thank you for following this blog series, The Ten Pounds of Christmas. Next week, week ten will be the last of the series; more on goals and how to make sure we reach them.