Making resolutions you can keep

Have you ever stood with your glass of champagne in hand and declared that this year is the one when you’ll run a marathon, lose 50 pounds or get a great new job?

Then all you have to show for your half-hearted commitment is a champagne hangover?

This week I’m blogging about making — and keeping — resolutions.

Yesterday I blogged about why you should make goals and write them down.

Today it’s about breaking down those lofty goals into something you can actually do.

Keith Ferrazzi, author of Who’s Got Your Back, blogs about learning goals.

Learning Goals are qualitative, mini-goals that define what you need to learn to help yourself achieve a specific performance goal. As long as you do the work, there’s no way to fail at a Learning Goal.

So for examples:
“Get the promotion” —>Learn 5 new techniques for being a better manager.
“Increase revenue” —> Improve your bookkeeping skills.
“Lose 10 lbs” —-> Learn to exercise better portion control.

Sometimes new year’s resolutions are so big or so vague they’re hard to live up to. Setting a learning goal helps make them attainable.

Let’s say your goal is “eat better.” That’s great but you start the new year with the same time, same budget and same taste buds you had a week earlier. Maybe you eat a salad for lunch for the first week then you slip back into your old habits.

A learning goal might be “buy a well-rated healthy cooking cookbook on amazon.com” or “try one new vegetable every month.” Or if your goal is “exercise more,” a learning goal might be “check the prices of three gyms near my home or office” or “ask three active friends about the kinds of exercise they enjoy most.”

You’re not trying to boil the ocean, just to learn things that move you toward your big goal of eating better.

Break down your big goals into mini goals — and reward yourself when you get there.

This article on Richmond.com gives several suggestions on how to make your resolutions stick, including:

decide what goals you would like to achieve this year and then break them down into short-term goals. This way you will have smaller successes that will keep you motivated to continue. Once you decide what you would like to achieve, write your goals down, including how you will reward yourself once you achieve each goal. For example: When I complete the Monument 10k without walking I will buy myself a new pair of running shoes or I will reward myself with a massage.

A coworker of mine hadn’t been to the gym in months. He decided he was going to go to the gym every day, and jumped in with a strenuous workout that first ambitious week. He woke up the next morning nearly unable to move and by the next week, he wasn’t going to the gym at all.

I think it’s understandable to get excited about a new goal and want to jump into the deep end of the pool — but if you’re realistic about what’s sustainable you’re more likely to see results. One crippling workout doesn’t help you lose weight any more than getting discouraged when you don’t go to the gym every single night and give up totally.

I made a goal of going to gym twice a week in 2009. Most of the time I did. Sometimes I didn’t. But I felt it was doable so I mostly stayed on track.

If you have a big goal for 2010, how can you break it down into mini-goals that don’t feel so daunting?

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Categories: lifestyle

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10 replies

Trackbacks

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