BY AMBER HURDLE
Because most, if not all, of you reading this are over-worked, over-volunteered, over-scheduled and stretched to the limit when it comes to just about every aspect of life, we determined the first issue of 2014 would be the perfect time to introduce readers to Life Coach, Amber Hurdle. Each issue Amber will be answering questions you send in, giving tips on how to deal with the everyday stresses of life without “losing it.” If you have a question for Amber, email it to, firstname.lastname@example.org. This month Amber answer’s questions about, what else, New Year’s Resolutions.
I always set New Year’s resolutions that I’m excited about, but then never follow through. What can I do to increase my chances of actually achieving my goals? -Claire, Mt. Juliet
Ahhhh, the elusive New Year’s resolution. We get so pumped at the start of the year–we are so hopeful! Unfortunately, statistics show that about 88% of people who make a resolution fail to reach their goals. But don’t worry, I’m going to lay out how to avoid being on the bummer side of that statistic!
First, I highly recommend against simply setting a goal a LONG year away from launching your efforts. In a world of high speed Internet, microwaves and drive-thru meals, waiting for ANYTHING is unlikely. Instead, like any business, set that annual goal, but then break it up into at least quarterly goals to move it closer to you.
You may even find that setting monthly, weekly or even daily goals makes it even more relevant in the here and now. What might feel overwhelming when considering what could and should be done in a year can feel a lot more doable if you just worry about this week!
It’s not enough to merely set goals, you have to actually develop a PLAN to achieve them.
So are you REALLY serious about your goal or are you just going to talk about it and go through the process of setting it out of tradition? It’s important to have a compelling “why.” WHY is it important that you accomplish your goal? What does life look like if you do? What is at risk if you don’t?
Once you have those realities established in your mind, you have to decide HOW you are going to achieve your goal. What values do you need to develop? What skills do you need to learn or improve upon? What type of support do you need?
For example, the number one New Year’s resolution is weight loss. Your “why” could include that you want to be able to run around and play with your kids without feeling winded. You may have to increase your value for wellness, and you may need to share your goals with your family and perhaps even hire a personal trainer, nutritionist or wellness coach as support to hold you accountable and be your cheerleader.
CALCULATE THE DRAGONS
A very important and often missed step is looking ahead at what could possibly derail you from achieving your goals. I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s line in The Hobbit, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
Seriously, we could pretend that we live in constant blue skies, but to go back to our weight loss example I think it would be prudent to factor in extensive travel, limited grocery budgets, long work hours or anything else that could stand in between you and losing weight.
Then, once you have laid out at least three potential threats to realizing your goal, go ahead and pre-bake into your plan solutions to those obstacles. So if you travel a lot, scope your territories for healthy eating options and then pack protein bars for emergencies. If your grocery budget is limited, find a buddy who will buy produce in bulk with you through a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) distributor. You get the idea. You should have three solutions for every possible challenge.
CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS
So let’s face it, even the best laid out plans with pre-baked solutions to potential obstacles can derail. The most important response to this situation is to understand why it happened. Is there a pattern of behavior you need to address? Was there a major life event that shifted your priorities? Or did you perhaps set a goal that was simply unrealistic?
You can simply accept failure OR you can decide what you need to do to course correct.
So bunker down, look at the boogie monster under your bed and deal with it. Only then can you move forward after a setback and regain lost ground through a series of good decisions. That’s right, you gotta suck it up, buttercup!
WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS DONE
Getting back to the ideas of making short-term goals and building your support team, it is proven that those who have accountability measures built into their goal setting plans are far more successful. So perhaps you have a calendar reminder to weigh yourself and you chart it each week. Or perhaps you hire a coach or join a gym to ensure you are measuring your progress.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
So when you DO hit your mini-goals, it is time to CELEBRATE! That’s right, when making your plan, decide ahead of the time what celebration looks like, too. It might be that you plan a beach trip if you hit your weight loss goal. Or if you’re anything like me, there will be ample spa treatments and shoe shopping excursions in the plan. Whatever meaningful carrot you can dangle in your face, do it! It will give you the warm fuzzy you deserve when you hit your mark, giving you that push to go for the next mini-goal with energy and enthusiasm
BE A WINNER
Ok, now that you have the recipe for resolution success, I urge you to actually sit down, map out your plan, and then schedule appointments with yourself to check in on your progress. You can be the person who talks about winning in theory or you can BE the winner. The choice is yours.
Have a question for Amber? Email email@example.com and she may answer your question in the next issue.
WLM – Seminar Series
Don’t miss out on our upcoming WLM- Seminar Series, brought to you by Amber and Wilson Living Magazine. Listen and learn from an array of well known professionals who will share their knowledge about business, technology, health, parenting, beauty and many other topics relevent to us all. Look for more details in your next Wilson Living Magazine in April.