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It’s getting hard to stick to your new year’s resolutions now, isn’t it? But stick with it, as all you may need to do is make a few tweaks to what you are currently doing.

In this blog, I’m going to show you a 5-step plan, that will help you stick to those 2019 plans, to reach your goals.

Step One

Although you may have set yourself a few different goals to achieve, try to focus on one at a time, instead of all at the same time. Some of your habits may link into one another, but try to focus on one simple habit first. Make this become part of your lifestyle/daily routine and only then look to add in another one.

Step Two

Personalise the habit to you, avoid just writing it down as ‘lose weight’, ‘eat more vegetables’, ‘exercise more’. Try habits like:  ‘I will swap my afternoon chocolate bar for a piece of fruit’, ‘I will add two extra vegetables to two main meals a day’, ‘I will exercise for 30 minutes after work 3 days a week’ ‘I will lose 6lb in 6 weeks, averaging 1lb a week’. All these are realistic and have an element of the SMART principle about them.

Specific – make the goal real, with deadlines and numbers. These are then used as targets and can allow progress towards your goal to be achieved.

Measurable – is it easy to track your progress? Did you exercise 3 times after work last week for 30 minutes? Did you swap your chocolate bar for a bit of fruit? Did you add two extra vegetables to two main meals each day?

Achievable – challenging, yes, also possible. It’s pointless to have goals that are simply not achievable.

Relevant – is it relevant to you? Are you behind your own goal? Or is it something someone else set? If the goal is relevant to us and our values then we are more likely to go after them

Time Bound – this keeps us focused and motivated.  If you have given yourself a big-time frame to achieve your goal, you may need to break your goal down further and set additional mini goals to achieve along the way towards that main goal. For example, perhaps running the Brighton Marathon in 6 months time’ is the big goal. Your first goal could be ‘to run 30 minutes, twice a week for 3 weeks’

When personalising your habit, attach it to something you already do. When you make your afternoon drink, eat your piece of fruit or when you are on your way home, visit the gym. This way it starts being associated with something.

Step Three

Focus your energy on this one habit for a period of 14-21 days and only then look to implement another habit.

Step Four

Set yourself a target of achieving the habit for a specific number of days out of ‘X’ amount of days. No habit is going to be perfect, but we want to create momentum. You will often here people refer to the 80/20 rule, this means achieving your goal 80% of the time. This will also mean you don’t completely lose hope if you do miss a day’s training, or succumb to a chocolate bar on a particularly long afternoon.

Step Five

Review.  How are you getting on? Reviewing will help you look back and see if you’re really on track.

Ask yourself these questions every now and then:

What has it been like?

What have you learnt whilst achieving your habit?

What obstacles did you come up against?

How did you overcome these obstacles?

To help achieve your goals when obstacles come up, take a read of this blog looking at strategies you can implement to keep you on track: ‘What if’s’

To help you keep track of your progress, download the Habit Starter Kit. These forms will help you monitor your progress whether it is a habit, i.e. drink more water, or a goal, for instance to lose weight or increase your fitness. Simply use the sheets to record how you are getting on.

Take another look at your goals for 2019 and re-write them if you need to. Make them more specific to you and your lifestyle, and remember that everyone is different: psychologically we are different, what works for one does not always work for someone else. However, what is proven is that clearing up our goals and making them neater and tidier, and more personal, means we are more likely to stick with them and achieve them.

Stay strong, happy, healthy.

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