House Call: Keeping your resolutions: here’s how
We are all familiar with the New Year’s resolutions and the loss of motivation many people have within a few weeks. Have you ever wondered how some people make long-lasting changes in their lives and never give up? You can become one of those who make a goal and stick to it. The answer to changing behaviors requires a little planning, some hard work, recruiting some partners and acknowledging your accomplishments. Here are 10 steps to help you reach your goals:
1. Make a goal and just start.
This seems simple, but many people make broad resolutions like getting healthy but never set a specific goal. Changing habits require focus and this can only be accomplished by knowing where you are aiming your efforts. If you want to run a marathon, you first must find a marathon to run. When you have made a goal, then the next step may be the hardest but it is essential … just start. Yes, take the first step and get moving!
2. Break it down into 100 percent doable parts.
The marathon finish line seems insurmountable to some, especially if it has been never attempted before. But if the journey to the finish line is divided into smaller pieces that you are 100 percent certain you can conquer, then the finish line is not so ominous after all. As a child, you learn to roll, then crawl, then walk and then run. The same process must occur to learn a new talent or activity. Take it one step at a time.
3. Record your progress.
There is nothing more satisfying then looking back how far you have come on your journey. Keeping daily or weekly records, with or without photos, is an excellent way to motivate you and help you decipher any changes that may need to occur to keep you on the path to success.
4. Recruit accountability partners.
It is much easier to talk yourself out of that morning run when you only have yourself to disappoint. But when someone else is getting out of bed and meeting you on the trail, it is unlikely you will turn over and go back to sleep. Find someone with similar goals as yours and build a new friendship!
5. Refuse to allow negative thoughts to linger; squash them before they take root and replace them with positive, “I can do it!” thoughts.
Fear and doubt are liars and a figment of your imagination. These insidious naysayers must be put in their place, which is out of your mind. Replace them with positive, motivating thoughts. Have a quote or verse memorized to recite to yourself when one of these thoughts enter your head. One of my favorites is by A.D. Mohla: “Keep on keeping on, no matter how hard the going may be.” Use this one or find your own, write it on a note card and keep it with you. Refer to it when you feel overwhelmed or scared. You can do it!
6. Educate yourself about people who have done it before.
Who doesn’t love a good story of overcoming odds and winning? Whatever your goals are, find someone else who has already blazed the path. Use their success as added fuel to your fire.
7. Treat failures as opportunities to learn and tweak the process.
Failures are an expected process in your journey. Life is full of them, regardless of your endeavors, but they do not have to be the end of your dreams. Use these hiccups as a learning tool to refine your process, and move closer to your goal.
8. Enjoy the process and remind yourself daily of the rewards by visualizing yourself accomplishing your goals.
Visualizing your goals as if they have already occurred is a powerful tool to keep you motivated. When you see yourself finishing a project, crossing the finish line or reaching your ultimate destination, you begin to believe that it will happen. With belief comes a mindset that will find success.
9. Be patient and do not give into urges to quit.
In today’s hurried society, we tend to lose prospective on just how long it takes to change a lifestyle or habit. We give up before we ever really get started. Don’t sell yourself short because you feel things should happen overnight. Remember, you are on a lifelong journey, so enjoy the scenery.
10. Reward yourself when you reach each step along the way.
When you do have success, be it along the pathway or at the finale, reward yourself! Shout your accomplishment to the world, and you may end up helping others reach their goals, too.
Dr. Laurie Marbas is a family physician at Grand River Hospital and Medical Center in Rifle.
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