December 28, 2011

Goals, Not Resolutions- A Prairie Yogi sneak peak

With NYE just around the corner, here is a sneak peak of an article I wrote for Winnipeg's new yoga magazine- Prairie Yogi- all about setting goals, and avoiding those persnickity resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are (usually) set with the best intentions. Shiny new beginnings and dreams of shedding old habits cause resolution setters to believe in the magic of a new year, often setting lofty and unrealistic pledges that are quickly forgotten come February. This, of course, is a dream for the sales team at your nearby gym, who see a massive boost in commission cheques on January 2nd- however it often leads to invariable disappointment for those who (besides making the decision to change), haven’t made a plan to get there, and quickly lose motivation.

To get anywhere, you need direction and a plan to arrive at your destination. This is the mistake many make when setting resolutions, failing to set goals that provide clear, attainable and realistic characteristics. To say that in the new-year you will change your entire life, whether it be quitting smoking or losing weight, picking up a new hobby or becoming “organized,” are all too general to ever succeed, and if you’re going to be honest with yourself, pretty lazy. If your boss asks you to complete a task, you make a game plan and have a due date to finish it by. The same needs to happen, with the same amount of commitment, with your goals.

It’s been estimated that your chances of success are around 80% if you just set one goal. Now your ultimate goal or resolution may be so big that you’ll need to break down into mini goals to make it achievable or realistic. Instead of saying, “I want to work out everyday,” make it an overall goal to start out by getting in 30 minutes of exercise a day, and set out daily to achieve that 
one goal of 30 minutes. If you’re already working out and want to lose weight, use the same the theology and pack a healthy lunch each day, not thinking too far ahead into the future. If you start to think about the big picture of losing 20 pounds versus daily decisions, it will seem so far away or “big” that you’ll become discouraged and be more likely to give up. 

Top achievers and CEOs have preached the theory of setting “S.M.A.R.T.” goals for years, not just to spin out corporate speak ease, but because it actually works. The acronym stands for the qualities of what makes up a successful goal; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. 

For the rest of my article on Goals, Not Resolutions please buy Prairie Yogi Magazine- on shelves this January!

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