How to set realistic goals in 2018
We live in an age of instant gratification. We want instant results: a movie download, a reply to an email or text we’ve sent, or even a list of possible medical diagnoses from Doctor Google upon entering our symptoms into the search engine.
We expect this same immediacy from our new year’s resolutions. And when we don’t magically get fit, lose weight or become organised and free of clutter within a few short days, we become disillusioned and feel like failures. Our resolutions sadly get tossed into the too-hard-basket.
But there is another way. Remember at primary school when you learnt maths? The teacher taught you how to add numbers together. Then you progressed to subtraction. Over time, you simply kept building upon your newly acquired maths skills. One step at a time. It was slow and steady, but success was ultimately assured.
Likewise, I’m a firm believer in building upon great health and wellbeing habits over time.
What do you want to achieve?
Let’s say the pants around your waist feel tight, you could set a motivating new goal to shed some kilos, so you both look and feel fabulous: By the end of March this year, I’m going to lose 12 cm from my waist circumference. (which equates to roughly 1 cm of abdominal fat loss per week).
This goal happens to be a SMART goal — it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and has a timeframe.
Simple changes to your eating, exercise and sleep habits are what’s going to help you reach your goal.
On the exercise front, your initial focus could be switching from being sedentary to moving more via upping your incidental exercise.
Management consultant Peter Drucker once famously stated: “What gets measured, gets managed”. And yes, it is important to measure and track your results. You may wish to purchase a wearable fitness device, such as a Fitbit or a dedicated pedometer or perhaps even download a phone app to keep track of your progress and to spur you on.
I can’t get over how much my husband loves his new pedometer. Every day he is on a mission to crack the 10,000 steps barrier. A great side-effect of his new quest to be more active is that he has slashed the number of hours he sits staring at screens. Would you believe that he has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis from being a couch potato to someone who now refuses to go to bed until his pedometer reads 10,000?!
When walking around the block or the park becomes a tad boring, you may wish to turbocharge your fitness regimen. How about walking up the stairs rather than taking the escalator or the lift? And for something even more challenging, you could sprint up the stairs/escalators at the train station, or up the stair-well at work. This is a great cardio and muscle strengthening workout. And you haven’t even taken any time out of your day! How’s that for great time management?
As you master one habit, then it’s onto the next one. And then the next one.
The following quote from Anthony Robbins’ early mentor, Jim Rohn, sums it up perfectly: Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.