Resolutions are so cliché, right? Get active. Lose weight. Try something new. Travel. Work on my relationship (or get one). Save (or earn) more money. The problem is that twelve months go by faster than you expect, and without knowing “how” or “why” you want to achieve these resolutions, they get treated like a “bucket-list”…pushed off until next year.
What’s the point?
As cliché as they might seem, goal setting is a critical part of moving forward in life. Here are few helpful hints to transform the way you view your resolutions.
HAVE A REASON
Resolutions are more than a fad; they’re a reflection upon yourself and a plan for improvement. Think of them instead as “goals for the year.” Successful goal setting is about more than creating a list, however.
- First, identify what in your life is causing you issues, or what life experience you want to make a priority in the coming year.
- Next, put some careful consideration into the question of WHY? Why do you want to change something about yourself? Why do you want to experience something specific?
- Then identify HOW you want to implement this new change.
There you have it. You’ve created a goal that is backed by reason and a plan.
Resolutions are generally those goals that are too hard to achieve without effort and self-discipline. In the coming months, when you start to lose momentum, it’s this reasoning that you’ll have to reconnect with. Are those reasons still valid? If so, it’s time to conjure up that self-discipline and get to work.
“I want to lose weight.”
How much weight do I want to lose? How quickly do I want to lose it? In what way do I want to lose it? Is weight or size or strength a more important factor to me?
“I want to save money.”
What am I saving money towards? How much do I want to save? How often do I want to put money into savings? What am I willing to give up in order to save money?
Turn your resolution into a specific, achievable task that you can track your progress with. Attach numbers to your goals when possible, and limit your resolutions to a handful of manageable (but significant) goals! You can always have a “bucket list” on the side.
Life is full of unexpected circumstances that get in the way. When writing your resolutions, consider what might go wrong, and have a Plan B worked out ahead of time. “I want to commute to work by bike at least once a week this year,” is a resolution doomed for failure. My family’s schedule, illness, weather, or work events could all become factors that get in the way. I needed to create a goal that was specific enough to keep me motivated, but that was also flexible enough to adapt to change.
Instead I wrote, “I want to ride my road bike 1,150 miles in 2015 by commuting to work once a week, and if I skip weeks I can make up the miles on the weekends.” Now that’s something I can look forward to! It’s easier to ride longer miles on the weekends, so I can still achieve my mileage goal even when I don’t commute multiple weeks in a row.
SET MILESTONE REWARDS
Break up your larger resolutions into smaller milestones, and reward yourself as you reach each one. When you have one large project to work on, it’s easier to knock out the easiest tasks first, then save the big time-consuming tasks for last. Getting the easy stuff out of the way provides a sense of accomplishment that inspires you to keep going.
Let’s pretend one of your resolutions is to lose weight. Your “why” is because you feel uncomfortable with your body, and you know you’ll have more energy if you had less body fat. You’ve decided that size is more important than pounds, and you want to go from a size 9 to a size 6 before your next Thanksgiving family reunion (6 is what your doctor says is an average size for your age and height).
Now you want to reward yourself for staying on track. When you drop your first dress size, you could treat yourself to a 30-minute back massage at the local spa. When you drop your second dress size, you plan to buy yourself a brand new size 6 bathing suit that really brings out the color of your eyes; and when you fit into that size 6 bathing suit you’re driving to Gulf Shores with some friends for a weekend on the beach (and you’re doing it right away… you’ve worked hard)!
SCHEDULE YOURSELF IN
You’re never too busy for the things that matter to you most.
Have you ever considered why you’re willing to drive your friend to the airport at 6am, but you won’t stop by the gym at 6am before heading to work? Or why you’re willing to help your friend move apartments, but you still haven’t unpacked your own boxes from your last move?
It’s easy to make ourselves a low priority. The fact is that we need to become number one. We have people who depend on us, and if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be around much longer to care for them. If you live your life by your Google Calendar, it’s time you schedule a recurring appointment for yourself at the highest level of priority… a non-negotiable slot of time that is for you and your goals.
IDENTIFY YOUR RESOURCES
As part of your goal-making process, consider the available resources that can make your resolutions a reality. Are there businesses, non-profit organizations, teams, community events, classes, websites or books that will make it easier for you get started? Above all, are there friends or family members who share the same goals as you? One of the best ways to stay motivated about your own resolutions is to encourage a friend to stay on track with the same goal. Joining a recreational or professional organization can help you make new connections with people who share those goals. Using a social app can also allow you to join in a virtual challenge with like-minded goal setters across the country.
If you don’t have those people in your life to keep you motivated, meet some new people through Team Green Adventures! You can show up to ANY of our events not knowing a single person, and walk away with a handful of companions who share the same interests (and probably also the same goals). Our Volunteer Trip Leaders are there to help facilitate conversations and introduce you to other people in the group; it’s what makes us a team!
If you live in the Greater Nashville Area (or are willing to travel here on a weekend), we hope you’ll join us on Sunday, January 25th from 11am-3pm at Riverwood Mansion for our Resolution Health & Recreation Fair. It’s our annual Resolution Adventure Social, plus a marketplace full of resources to help you reach your resolution goals. Come meet our Volunteer Trip Leaders and fellow adventure-seekers, along with the outfitters, gyms, retailers, and non-profit organizations partnering with Team Green Adventures to make 2015 your healthiest, most sustainable, and most adventurous year yet!
– Keeley (Team Green’s Director)