Scrap the New Year’s Resolutions: Set mini-goals instead

By Su

Same story. Different year. People promise themselves new starts and new beginnings only to lose track of their goals a few months down the line. It’s easily done. I cannot recall how many times me and my friends have tried to implement an ambitious gym program and ended up making excuses or just completely forgetting!

gym program

If it’s any consolation, we are not alone in the battle to become the best us we can be in less than a year. According to one source, roughly 40% of us will resolve to change our lives in some way in the New Year, and the majority of us will fail. Whether it’s implementing an intense gym program, putting into practice those weight loss tips, promising to meditate more daily or getting a new job, we all want to make changes.
In theory, the New Year seems to be like the best time to do it. There’s nothing like the calendar being reset to month one, giving you a completely fresh slate. So why do so many fail in their new resolution efforts?

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution. Compare this to the whopping 49% who apparently experience infrequent success. It’s suspected that the main reason behind people ditching their resolutions so easily is that people do little to prepare their mind for the change. They cannot sustain their motivation as they haven’t enhanced their capacity for the transformative process. It therefore leads to extra stress which inevitably comes with change. This is especially the case if you want to change ingrained habits such as smoking, drinking or over-eating.

Like most things, your resolution starts in your mind. If it’s a superficial change nothing is going to stick. Even though starting small may not be what you want to hear, you can create smaller resolutions that pack a BIG punch. Starting with smart, small, challenging goals can be the way to create a better you. As Emma Mackie mentioned in her Introduction to Me article, SMART goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Make sure you weave these principles into any mini-resolution you make. So here’s what you’re going to do to stick to your mini-goals and create a 12 month plan to the best you possible-

gym program

  • Start small. It’s important to make resolutions we can keep. If you want to pick up your gym program and exercise more, start with three days a week instead of six. If you want to lose weight, switch the desert for fruit at the weekends. It’s these simple things that over time can make a real difference as it makes it easier to implement bigger changes.
  • Change one thing at a time. Check out this poster on Pinterest. It encapsulates the main point of this article. Every month, focus on something new. Put in all the effort you can for that month on your mini-goal. It doesn’t matter if one day, two days or three days pass and you fall back into old habits. As happiness expert and author Gretchen Rubin says ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’. Tomorrow is a new day! As long as you are making a consistent, earnest effort.
  • Let others know about your goals. Keeping people in the loop is a good way to create your own support network. These people will also end up reminding you about your gym program for example and checking-up on your progress which gives you extra incentive to keep on track.
  • There’s always next month! As this is a longer-term resolution over the course of 12 months, you have more time to get it wrong (not that you will of course). Breaking down your one massive New Year’s resolution into smaller, actionable steps can help you stick to your goals and give you a much higher success rate.
  • Use your tech. Apps on your mobile or desktop can be a great way to keep track of your monthly mini-resolutions. Whether it’s trying to save more money with digital budgeting tools or monitoring your gym program with the latest fitness apps to planning your weekly diets to speed up your weight loss. Make it easier to track your progress by getting monitored by your digital companions.

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Emma Mackie: An Introduction to MeHIIT Burst