7 Tips To Achieve Your Resolutions and Goals
Updated: Jan 7
What is it you would like to achieve, develop more or change?
Have you set goals for the coming year - resolutions to bring about changes which improve your life?
There may be things you want to achieve to become the person you want to be. Or it may be that you are pretty fine already and just need some fine tuning or tweaks here and there.
Either way, here are seven tips to help.
1. SET REALISTIC GOALS
Choosing realistic goals for your resolutions will obviously increase the likelihood of achieving them. So, it is worth taking some time to ensure that what you want to achieve in 2016 is a realistic possibility for you. At the same time, not limiting your ambitions unnecessarily and knowing you are capable of a great many things.
You may choose to set yourself resolutions around personal development, health and fitness, employment and business, personal relationships, spirituality or an ambition.
You can achieve things such as stopping smoking, losing weight, reducing or eliminating problematic anxiety or stress, etc
These are the things that may also improve the quality of your life and allow you to be more of who you really want and choose to be, rather than settling for the old patterns and learning built up over many years.
2. BREAK YOUR GOALS DOWN INTO SMALLER STEPS OR SUB-GOALS
For someone who is currently size 22 and wants to be size 14, thinking of achieving this, let alone undertaking the change necessary, can seem daunting. However, if you start by setting quite short-term sub-goals, such as eating smaller portions and one take away per week as a maximum, this can set you on the path and start the process of change. Things can then seem a lot more achievable and practical.
You could also have a sub-goal along the way to your main goal, such as here slimming down to get into that size 20 outfit you haven’t managed to get into since you bought it.
So, it’s a bit like stepping stones to get to the other bank of the river. Each stepping stone or sub-goal takes you closer and closer to your goal. Each one helps to maintain focus and is an achievement in its own right — which leads on to the next tip.
3. REWARD ACHIEVEMENT
This will maintain your motivation and keep you fixed on achieving your overall goal. Positively rewarding behaviour, even to ourselves, makes a behaviour more likely to happen again — this was established in the study of psychology by B. F. Skinner, the American behaviourist. Although actually, intermittent reinforcement (rewarded sometimes and not others) is the best kind of reinforcement to ensure a behaviour happens again - this is why gambling can be so powerful.
Using these principles, bear in mind that Skinner also found that punishment was the weakest influence on a behaviour happening again or not. Punishing yourself for doing something that doesn’t help you achieve your goal is not useful. This simply leads to feeling bad and guilty, so often this leads to us doing more of what it was that led the this in the first place — or put simply, the ‘sod it’ phenomenon.
4. USE POSITIVE FRAMING
If you are trying to lose weight and all you think about is what you cannot eat, e.g. I can’t have any more chocolate bars for mid morning snack at work, this may be detrimental to progress and jeopardise achieving your goal. Being denied something and negativity are not the best motivators.
You goal is a positive change not a punishment. It is something you choose that will bring about changes you want — in short it will make your life better and make you more of the person you actually want to be.
So, frame the changes you are making and all the steps along the way positively. For example, think of why you want to eat a healthy amount of food, what this will mean for you when you achieve it as well as every time you do it — “I want to become a size 14 and feel healthier, have less joint pain and feel better about myself by fitting into those clothes I really want to wear and be the person I really want to be” (overall goal) … “Every time I choose to eat more healthily and in moderation I feel a little better about myself, I feel a little healthier and I am on my way to getting into that dress for the next work night out in February” (sub goal).
What we tell ourselves really does matter and framing positively can increase motivation.
5. DEAL WITH SETBACKS CONSTRUCTIVELY
Learn from mistakes and use them positively. If you slip up, that's fine, we're human and we all make mistakes. This is one way we learn and make progress, so use your setbacks to find out what is likely to trip you up, learn from it and be ready for it next time. Then, simply get right back on track to achieving your goal.
6. GET SUPPORT
It can be hard at times making changes, even though we want them and want them badly. This is real life and we need to put in some effort, re-orient our life, our behaviours, our thoughts etc to get what we choose.
Getting support in achieving our goals from family members, partners, friends and professionals can really make a difference to the likelihood of success.
Family members, friends and partners can be there when no-one else is, perhaps on the other end of the phone in the evening when we are struggling, or in the example above, mid-morning when we used to have that chocolate bar that we thought of as comfort and reward for being at work. These people may also know you very well and may be able to offer just that right kind of encouragement for you or what you need to keep on making positive change.
Professionals can help you actually bring about the changes you choose to achieve your goal. For many issues, we may struggle to do this alone and getting help is a sign of strength by putting in place what you need to make the changes you want in your life.
7. STAY FOCUSED
Overall, stay focused and remind yourself regularly of why you are making the changes you are, and what you will achieve by doing so. It can be useful to write these down to remind yourself when needed. Keep track of progress and notice all the little changes along the way as well as bigger ones. Also make improvements and adjustments to what you are doing that will increase your progress and achievement. It can be also be useful to look for changes in how others relate to or see you. Use all positive and constructive means of keeping on the path of change to becoming who you choose to be.