I was never great at keeping my New Year’s resolutions, so I stopped making them. It seemed like a waste of time if I never got anywhere with it. But in the last couple years, I've managed to achieve a lot of the goals I never followed through with in the past - and these achievements didn't start as New Years Resolutions. What was the difference? Just like you, my goals in the past were too big, and therefore not sustainable. But I wanted a change in my life, and I knew just changing 1 simple thing wasn't going to change everything. So instead of picking an overwhelming goal based on something I didn’t like about my life, I chose one word to symbolize the bigger picture of what I envisioned for myself: "wellness". I wanted to be happier, have more energy, and to look and feel healthy as I entered my 50's.
After I created my vision of what I hoped to become and chose the word to represent what I was working toward, I created mini goals. There were many things I knew I needed to adjust, but, as I'd learned from New Years Resolutions, changing everything all at once never got me where I wanted to go. So I only let myself focus on one thing at a time. After 1 year of making several, small adjustments, I had a whole new lifestyle. A year after that, I'm a whole new person.
Now let's figure out how to kick off your journey. First, envision who you want to be by the end of 2016. Next, come up with a word to represent your goal. If you have a specific goal - like you would like to lose weight - write down why you want to lose the weight. This will help you come up with a vision of who you want to be and determine a more positive word than "thin" - maybe it’s "confidence" or "independence", or, like me, "wellness" - this way you are inviting many different facets of confidence, independence, wellness, or whatever you desire, into your future rather than focusing on your external body alone. Now you're ready to choose your mini goals. Instead of being vague and overambitious with one goal, determine one mini goal for each month of the year that will all lead you to your more well/confident/independent self.
Let’s stick with the weight loss example. You may reflect on your goal and decide that what you truly desire is confidence. That's now your focus: your journey to confidence. Now, map out the steps along your journey that will help build your confidence by choosing your 12 mini goals. Some of these will be weight loss focused, but there will be other mini goals that you know will also help boost confidence that have less to do with your weight and appearance. This way, by the end of 2016, you'll grow into the person you desire to be.
Here are some examples of mini goals:
January – add vegetables to each meal.
February - participate in physical activity/exercise you enjoy 3x a week.
March – keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day to sip on.
April - spend 15 minutes a day outdoors.
May – stop drinking soda.
You see how it works! Come up with 12 mini goals that relate to your overall goal and put them on your calendar each month. It only takes 21 days to create a new habit, so by the end of 365 days you'll be a happier, healthier you!