It’s the first full week of the new year AND a new decade. If you’re like most Americans, your resolutions are still going strong this early in the year but did you know that most people give up on their resolutions by January 31? The trick to making your resolutions stick with you all year is making them meaningful to you and creating a roadmap to success.
You’ve probably already set some resolutions, and if you have, this is a good time to review them and see if you can make them even better and more specific to increase your odds of success. If you haven’t, or if you’re one of those people who hates resolutions, it’s a good time to think about your goals for 2020. What do you want to look back on next Christmas and be proud of? Have you set the same resolution year after year? Whether it’s to lose weight, to get organized, to beef up your savings account, if you’re stuck in a revolving door of setting the same goal and not achieving it year after year, this is the article for you.
I want to show you how to take your one-dimensional resolution that statistics say you won’t accomplish (a recent article reports only 8% of people accomplish their resolutions!1) and make it into a 3-D goal that you will absolutely knock out of the park. Let’s choose an example to work with. How about losing weight? Studies show that weight loss/diet/exercise/getting in shape goals are the most common resolutions2 and hey, I own a gym so it’s on my mind too.
In order to make a resolution into a 3-D goal, you need to build around it and give yourself a full picture of the beginning, middle, and end of the accomplishment, plus shore it up with WHYs and HOWs. Let’s dive in!
Resolution: I want to lose 20 pounds this year.
3-D Goal: I am going to lose 20 pounds this year because that will allow me to get off my blood pressure medication. (This is a WHY.) Losing 20 pounds this year means I can fit into the shorts in my dresser and feel confident wearing them on my family’s summer vacation. I want to lose 20 pounds this year to change my relationship with food and being active. I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year by keeping a food diary. (This is a HOW.) I will experiment with My Fitness Pal and if that doesn’t work for me, I will keep a paper food journal. I will keep the journal consistently and I will expect consistency, not perfection, out of myself. Keeping a food journal will help me lose 20 pounds by bringing awareness to what I’m eating. Awareness will help me decide if certain things are worth it or not. Awareness will help me find patterns that are helpful or hurtful to my goal of losing 20 pounds. I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year by increasing my activity. I already belong to a gym, so I will commit to consistent attendance 3 days per week. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are generally the best days for me to attend, and while I’m there, I will either take a group class or do 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio. I will remember that consistency will get me farther than perfection, and I will not give up if I miss a workout or two. I will lose 20 pounds this year by focusing on building lifestyle habits, not on being perfect until it’s done. I will increase my activity by taking a short walk with my dog after dinner at least 3 nights a week. Increasing my activity will help me lose 20 pounds this year by boosting my metabolism, helping me burn more calories, and reducing the time I sit around and fall victim to mindless snacking. When I have lost 20 pounds, I will be so proud and excited about my accomplishment that it will be easy to maintain my weight loss through the good habits I’ve built. When I have lost 20 pounds, I will love getting dressed each day and feeling great in my clothes. When I’ve lost 20 pounds, my doctor will applaud my commitment to staying off medications. When I’ve lost 20 pounds, I will have taught myself that my health is a value and priority to me, and I will protect the time and space to live in line with that value.
See the difference? It’s huge! Get extremely thorough on a complete vision of your goal, including why it’s important to you and the specific ways you will accomplish it. Write it down and review it daily, especially at the beginning. This is your roadmap to success! A resolution to lose 20 pounds this year is not a roadmap, but the 3-D goal we created IS. So now’s the time, while the year is still young, sit down with yourself and get specific about what you want to accomplish. Build a 3-D goal for each one and get ready to achieve amazing things in 2020!