Happy New Year!
We are in the first week of January and you might have set some goals for this year or this month to achieve. Perhaps you are on ‘Dry January’ and giving up alcohol this month or you might have a new exercise regime that you are tackling.
According to statistics, only 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions. I have never set new year’s resolutions before, however I have achieved goals that I never thought I could before. I lost 30lbs in weight a few years ago and kept them off. I completed a 30 days’ Bikram yoga challenge last year and this was previously unthinkable for me. I established Bodhi Me and launched within 5 months from initial concept.
If you have goals that you want to achieve, here are my top 5 tips to help you along the way:
1. Are your goals achievable?
Yesterday I spoke to someone who created a ‘ban’ list of things that he is not going to consume until April. April! That’s 3 months away! Not only that, his ‘ban’ list includes anything with dairy, meat, alcohol, chocolate and sweets. I know him well enough to know that these food groups are part of his usual diet. In fact, he told me that he has a friend visiting this weekend so he will probably be opening the vodka.
It looks to me like he has created a goal and set himself to fail, as he already knows that he will fail. He has planned for failure. I personally think that this is a very long list and 3 months is a long time. Cutting out so many food groups require a lot of determination and planning to change his diet completely.
Rather than cutting out completely, how about gradually cutting them down so that you can start to feel better without that negative feeling of guilt? Instead of a chocolate bar everyday, how about eating a small piece every other day? Rather than not drinking alcohol for the first 6 days in January and finishing a bottle of wine with a friend this weekend, how about setting a limit of one glass only this weekend? It means you can still enjoy these little pleasures in life and you are more likely to succeed.
2. Reward yourself when achieving little milestones.
As silly as this sounds, having a daily tracker helps you see how far you have come. When I was trying to lose weight a few years ago, I was tracking protein, vegetable and water intake daily. At the end of each week, I drew myself a smiley face and told myself ‘Well Done’. Over weeks and months, I went through my tracker and saw how much I have achieved and how strong I can be.
In my opinion, your journey to reach your goal has to make you feel good. Otherwise, why bother doing this? Ok, you might find it tough at different times but it should not feel like a punishment or torture throughout.
In fact, when I was on my weight loss plan, I went out for dinner once a week where I didn’t care what I ate and I never felt guilty about it. It was my reward for telling myself that I am doing well and I allowed myself this treat and happy feeling. Despite doing that every week, I still lost the weight.
Our journey to reaching our goals doesn’t have to be painful. It can be enjoyable and fun.
3. If you have fallen off, get back on the horse.
If your target is to practise yoga everyday this month or go to the gym everyday… and for whatever reason you missed a day, it does not mean you have failed. This is just part of life. You can change the present. You can change the future but you can’t change the past. Nothing is stopping you from going back into the yoga studio or gym and restarting tomorrow. Just because you had a slip, it does not mean that you have to carry on slipping.
Congratulate yourself on acknowledging the fact that you had a slip and that you can still keep going on achieving your goal. If all Olympics athletes’ ambitions are to win a gold medal but they didn’t win last year and decided never to come back, we won’t have any of the same athletes left competing in 3 years’ time.
4. Ask yourself why you are doing this.
Setting new year’s resolutions seems like the “done” thing but I think we should ask ourselves why we are doing this.
Before starting on your resolution, really think about how you will feel when you are trying to reach your goal. Do you think it is going to be miserable or do you think it will feel good?
What is it going to be like when you have reached your goal? Will you be proud and feel better for it or do you think you will have to make up for lost time because you feel deprived?
If all of those questions give you a positive feeling then I think you are more likely to succeed. If you think you are going to feel miserable, anti-social, deprived, sad, depressed then how about setting smaller goals and taking it one step at a time?
5. It’s never too late to start.
We don’t have to all start our resolutions and goals on 1st January. You can start today. You can start tomorrow. You can start on Monday. It is never too early or late to begin.
I don’t have any new year’s resolutions for 2017 but I came back from The Gambia and thought I would try being vegetarian for a month. I have been vegetarian since 28 December and I am doing this as I want to see how it feels. So far, I have more energy and I feel lighter. I haven’t weighed myself and for me, it’s how I feel that matters.
I wish you the best of luck in achieving your goals.
Be in that 8%! You can do this!