Keeping it simple – making goals and sticking with them

This year has had many ups and downs and like most people I started the year with some goals in mind. By and large they have been kept to which led me to think on why I managed to keep to them this year and why plans have fallen by the wayside.

As I was thinking I knew the answer was right in from of me and was a simple as anything.

It is all about keeping it simple and breaking a task/goal down to the smaller parts. It is also having a buy in changing habits and rewarding I call this the If This Then That. The below are things that have helped me, also helped my colleagues when I asked how they kept to goals and good practice I have seen around me

Keeping it simple.

This is having a goal in mind and a time frame but breaking it all down to smaller parts, keeping it simple and achievable. Someone once asked what is the best way to eat an elephant? Answer one bite at a time. Weird question and answer but it stuck with me when I have had to face a huge task. Keep your goals achievable; don’t set yourself up to fail but have a set time frame, and review often. It is ok to change things if it isn’t work, it is ok to admit it’s not working, its ok not to beat yourself up over it but tweak what isn’t working. If you do fall down, reset tomorrow is a new opportunity to start afresh. What isn’t ok is to fall down admit defeat, beat yourself up and continue on the negative downward spiral and not make those changes you really need. So, for example:

  • If you want to lose 3 stone, instead of saying “I must lose 3 stone by next Wednesday” you could say “I need to lose weight, to do this I need to eat more vegetables, move more and lose about 2lb a week”.
  • If you have 1 slice of cake more that you intended then reset, make sure that the rest of the day is as healthy as possible and make a note that you may need to bring in a slice of fruit for those days when there may be cake around.
  • If you want to take up a new sport or activity suggest to yourself “I will take a spin class, try it for 3 weeks and then decide if I like it and want to continue”. This means you are giving yourself a fair trial, a get out but a chance not to bail at the first hurdle.

If this then that..

This is my plan B. It’s all about planning and setting up things beforehand but also rewarding your hard work. For example, these have worked for me:

  • If normally after a tricky week at work you hit the fatty snacks, break your healthy routine you have had in place for a few days and sit in front of the TV. Make that change, by pre-empting what you could do by suggesting meeting with a positive friend and head to the cinema or go to a gym class you enjoy.
  • If you have promised yourself that you will eat more vegetables then walk past the shop and make sure you buy enough for the next few days, prepare it, look at recipes and use it in one of your dishes.
  • If you know that work dos are stressful and you always head to the bar for a drink before making the small talk with colleagues how about making a promise to yourself that you need to have a conversation with 2 new people or people you don’t normally talk to before hitting the bar? You may actually like those conversations, it’s a great way of networking and you may make some new friends in the process without the need for those drinks!
  • If you know that a night out in a restaurant with family always means you choose the fattest things from the menu, that you are encouraged to go off track, check the menu beforehand and choose your meals. Or better still research and choose a venue yourself where everyone can make good choices. If you cannot choose the venue say you are going to walk either to or from the place, get some gentle exercise in and fresh air.

Most of what I have put above is simple straightforward and you really don’t need reminding most of the time. But, I felt that so far this year this has worked for me and I wanted to share in the hope it may help someone else who could be struggling. I have found that having a plan and keeping things simple has helped me not only health wise but emotionally too, I still have anxiety but if I put things in place it doesn’t hit me as much as it used to (as long as I have planned well!)  I would love to hear what has worked well for you.


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