Ask people about their goals for the New Year and 99% will answer, “lose weight!” “get in shape!” or “be happy!”
The remaining 1% are still too hungover to answer.
Studies show we’re more likely to find motivation when we have a clean slate in front of us: a new home, new relationship, new job or, of course, a new year.
This makes total sense.
It’s a fresh start! It’s the feeling I get each time I sit down in front of my computer and face a pure white page with nothing but a blinking cursor.
The pressure’s on… Will I create a masterpiece, the mantra of a new civilization, words people save and hang by their computer screens… or will they delete if before they read this sentence?
You still there? Good enough.
Here’s my point: In order to succeed at any goal, be it weight loss, getting stronger and fit, feeling better overall or whatever, you need a plan.
Announcing on Facebook, that you’re going to get in shape isn’t enough, unfortunately. Even joining a gym and buying a FitBit guarantees nothing, other than you’re out a bunch of money.
If only it were so easy.
The key to success lies in creating a strategy, one that outlines how you will accomplish each step along the way. This breaks big goals down into bite-size pieces (I almost spelled that last word “pizzas,” which would’ve been far tastier). This takes away the overwhelm feeling from trying to plan too far ahead.
Here’s what works for me and may also help you…
It’s easier to wrap your head around 90 days than a longer period of time. So plan on what you’d like to accomplish in the next three months. Write it down and hang it somewhere where you’ll see it often. I did this one year with a business goal and also made it into my new password for the year. Every time I signed into my email or other account I had to remember and write it out.
I achieved it, largely because it was constantly top of mind. It works.
Make sure it follows the S.M.A.R.T. rules:
S = specific: what exactly do you want to achieve?
M = measurable: how will you know you’ve reached your goal?
A = achievable: make sure your goal makes sense and is one you can do within this time frame; trying to lose 50 pounds in three months isn’t likely to happen – plus, it’s not healthy
R = realistic: similar to being achievable, is your goal realistic? Be honest.
T = time bound: setting a 90-day limit is doing just that
Now break down those 90 days into weeks.
At the start of each week make a list of steps you will do (not “try”! but “do”) this week that take you closer to your goal. Focus on your trouble spots, the areas that most often cause you to backslide. This may be fitness or food related. It may look something like this:
Week 1: no more wine after dinner, sip tea instead
Week 2: limit restaurant lunches to two days, plan ahead and bring your own
Week 3: increase cardio to four times a week
Week 4: ____________
Now that you’ve broken down your 90-day goal into weeks, break it down further into a list you refer to every day. One motivational guru I follow calls it a Power List. Another calls it Active Actions, so let’s go with Ageless Actions!
Pick at least two up to three things you can do that day. Write them on an index card or sticky note and hang it where you’ll see it throughout the day. Each Ageless Action should take you one step closer to your goal. Make them simple. Keep in mind these are not new goals, just single actions to help you reach your goals.
Just as all those little bites of cookies and cake add up to big pounds on your hips, it also works in reverse with these small steps. Over time they get easier, so you create new goals, and before you know it – BAM! Goal achieved.
How will YOU make 2017 your best year yet? Let me know your 90-Day goal in the comments section below…
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P.S. Need help setting and strategizing a total body plan? Check out my new 90-Day Ageless Body Plan! I’d love to work with you.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.