My biggest job as a health coach is to help people to get clear on their goals and the support them on their way to achieving them. Many of my clients come to me with New Years Resolutions that they’d like to implement. I typically ask if this is the first time they’ve set this goal for themselves, and more often than not, it isn’t. So why haven’t they followed through in the past? Let me share with you the 3 most common mistakes I see my clients have made that has held them back from achieving their goals!
Not clearing space (adding and not removing anything)
We start the new year inspired to create something new. We commit to new behaviours that often take up time but forget to remove other commitments from our calendar. Before we know it, we’re overwhelmed by all the things we have to do and our resolutions slide.
This phenomenon is called “cumulative stress.” Remember in the movie Shrek when Donkey and Shrek talk about layers? Ogres are like onions (and not like cake). Just like onions or cake, our stress stacks up in layers. You might not feel these layers, but your body certainly does! Stress drains the body’s resources and is a leading cause of disease.
Assess your commitments (i.e. your layers) and see what can be set aside or dropped to make room for your resolutions. Take the time to look at all of the things that take up time in your day and ask yourself if they are in alignment for you.
Not planning for evaluation and revision
When we set goals, we are so excited to start that we often forget that meeting the goal isn’t so easy. There will be road blocks along the way that we need to deal with. If you were really ahead of the game, you may have looked at what some of these obstacles might be and made plans to work with them (good on ya if you did, no worries if you didn’t!). But what about the obstacles we haven’t thought about or planned for? Don’t let them get you off track.
Plan in goal check ins. Schedule them into your calendar as part of your goal. The frequency will differ for every person. At the beginning, a daily check in might be needed. As you progress and find more consistency, you may choose to progress to weekly, biweekly or monthly check ins. Use this time to ask yourself whether you’re still on track with your goal, what’s working and what isn’t. Be honest! Give yourself the grace to revise your goals to make them work for you. This might mean changing your goal drastically and that’s okay! You’re not a failure. In fact, you’ll be more successful in the long term! If you want more details, check out my blog post on SMART-ER goals.
Forgetting Your Why
Without realizing it, we often make resolutions that are based on things that we should be doing. We should get healthy, we should look thinner, we should have a calmer mind, a cleaner house etc. But what do you actually want? And why do you want it? Is it because of a desire for change that comes from deep within you, or from a place of trying to follow the rules of society?
It’s okay to have “conventional” goals or to want things that others want as well. What’s most important here is to connect to your own unique why. One of the best examples of this is a friend of mine told me years ago she wanted to lose weight. It wasn’t so that she could look a certain way, it was because she her tummy fat was limiting her ability to do yoga postures that she was drawn to for her own personal healing. That goal has a much deeper layer and will be more motivating than trying to do something to align with society’s ideals.
Dig up that deeper why. Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine you’ve achieved your goal. What is different about your energy in your future you versus the you now? What would you be free from if you were to make this goal a part of your lifestyle? What will achieving this goal allow you to do that you can’t currently? These are your why’s. Come back to these answers when you’re struggling to be motivated to continue.
I appreciate you for wanting to make changes to your life and wish you the best of luck with your New Years resolutions! If you’re looking to improve your mental health, let me help! Check out my self paced courses, virtual group programs or 1 on 1 mental health coaching to help to get you to feel your best!