January is a traditional time for goal setting. But many people set goals, then quickly forget about them when they realize that they have set unrealistic goals. So, how does a person set realistic goals? The first step is to assess your personal motivation to make change. If you are setting a goal based on someone you know pressuring you to make a change that you aren’t fully invested in….this is a setup for disaster. If you are setting a health goal that you would love to achieve but you’ve failed at this particular goal in the past…and you haven’t learned any new skills….also a setup for disaster. So, how do we set goals that are achievable?
First, think about how anyone makes changes. We don’t just tackle the impossible without a set of tools and magically succeed. If you have lived your life up until now with a pattern of yo-yo dieting, for example, don’t make a promise that this is the diet to end all diets…this time you will stick with it and get and keep your excess weight off! Nope. It won’t work. The diet industry makes millions off the fact that people usually fail at dieting. Don’t spend money foolishly on diets that set you up for failure. Simply commit to making small changes that you feel ready to handle. Make healthier food choices. Decrease portion sizes. Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Pick one of these suggestions and do it well for one month. Then add one more change. Build on the success you have achieved, but don’t ever resort to overly restrictive fad diets. They just set you up to fail, and then you are back on the end of the yo-yo string.
Perhaps you’ve resolved to be more active. If you have a history of being sedentary, don’t plan to suddenly be the star of the gymnasium. Take it slow. Just start where you are, and add 5-10 minutes of vigorous activity per day, to start. A brisk walk is a good way to add activity to your routine. You don’t need to invest in a gym membership or expensive workout equipment when you are just starting. When you find that you are doing your 5-10 minutes of vigorous activity and not dreading it, add in longer episodes of activity. Do things that bring you joy, so that you don’t get bored too easily. And always take time to congratulate yourself on the positive changes you’ve made. Do not expect instant changes in your physique. You didn’t get out of shape over night, and you will not become fit over night, either.
Think about the things you want to change in yourself with a loving heart. Many people attack change with anger and self-hatred. This is also a recipe for disaster. Nothing good comes out of self-hatred. If you think you can scold yourself into making permanent, positive changes, you will only provoke an attitude of rebellion. No one likes to be bullied, even when we are the one doing the bullying. So approach the changes you would like to make with a loving heart, with forgiveness for past mistakes, and with an attitude of cheerful expectancy. Have gratitude for the ability to make healthier choices. Have gratitude of the ways your body responds to even the smallest changes. Be kind to yourself. If you are unkind to yourself, you will attract negativity and failure into your life. If you can’t seem to figure out how to be kind to yourself, you may need to utilize a professional to help you process and let go of some of your negative feelings.
If you would like my help with setting realistic, achievable, kind and loving goals, call me at: 831-214-8087. I would be happy to help you learn to take a more kind and loving approach with yourself.