Jan 28, 2015
It’s the beginning of the year and I have found myself not wanting to set any new personal goals
for 2015. Why? Because I seldom keep them and then I feel so disappointed in myself.
But I've had another think about it, and I've come to the realisation that I've been going about it the wrong way. I’m an “all or nothing” sort of person, so the goals I tend to set are quite ambitious. For example, I might say that I need to get some exercise this year and that going to the gym regularly would be a good idea. Well, a few years ago, with the very self-same goal, I organised a personal trainer believing that the money I paid, and the personal interest of the trainer, would guilt and encourage me to stick to my plan. Well it did, for a few months, and then because the trainer was inexperienced working with someone my age, I ended up with medical problems. Well, that was the excuse I needed to give up. I didn't find another trainer because, let’s face it, the trainer wasn't the real problem; I was.
I’m not a gym bunny and I hated doing organised exercise for the sake of it.
Here are the three ideas that I’m embracing this year to stick to my goals. Try them out yourself and see how it goes.
- I’m undertaking to make my goals, really, really manageable, subscribing to the theory that doing a little bit is better than nothing at all. Walking every evening after work is too ambitious and vague. Walking up my steep hill to catch a bus to work, and then getting off the bus two stops before my regular stop, is a much more manageable and realistic goal. It’s better than driving the car into work, and I can start off by doing it once a week and then increasing the number of days.
- It’s a good idea to piggyback on an existing habit, so that I’m more likely to stick to it. A “tweak” is so much easier than forming a whole new habit or goal! So, for example, I never walk after work because things are too variable and prone to excuses – the weather, what time I get home, preparing dinner, kids’ activities, and so on. Catching a bus is a realistic and cost-efficient alternative to driving in to work and is something I could do because I've done it (occasionally) in the past.
- I’m making it visible and planning to involve my daughter, because she takes no prisoners! I have a calendar on the fridge (where else) and will mark off my little victories.
For me, it’s a case of a “good enough” goal representing an improvement, rather than setting the goal at the ideal. I believe that these tweaks are more likely to succeed for me! Wish me luck!