You’ve written your New Year’s goals, right? You know what you want and are ready to tackle your desires head on. For many of you, here’s what your goals list could look like:
–Knuckle down and never miss a day at the gym.
–Eat healthy at every single meal and snack.
–Get to bed every night by 10:00 pm.
–Meditate/do yoga and live a stress-free life each and every day.
Is this a perfect plan or perfect recipe for disaster?
What if you miss a day at the gym? That’s failure, right? Back to square one. What about finding yourself at an unhealthy restaurant on a business trip with colleagues? There goes “eating healthy” right out the window.
If you view these scenarios as failures, you’re likely to throw in the towel and give up. But if you choose to see them as temporary (and even expected) setbacks, then you’ve given yourself permission to continue moving forward.
When it comes to goals, think “specific” and think “flexible.”
Integrating healthy lifestyle choices into your everyday life takes planning. We’ve discussed in past posts the importance of setting specific goals. Now it’s time to focus on how to plan for flexibility.
Being flexible about the achievement of your goals allows you to see temporary setbacks as detours rather than roadblocks.
I’d like you to review your goals (remember your I WANT list from last week’s post?). For each one, come up with a half a dozen to a dozen ways that your goal could be derailed or detoured. It’s pretty easy to do. Common detours might be: illness (you and/or your family), business trips/projects, weather constraints, injuries, family visits/company, major events (birthdays, celebrations, holidays, etc.), family support/lack of family support, money shortfall, etc.
Once you have your lists made, write a few sentences detailing proactive ways to handle each detour. Planning ahead for detours prevents you from feeling as if you’ve hit a roadblock.
Let’s take a look at how to do this. I’ll use unexpected houseguests as an example since that would likely cause a detour to your plans to exercise. What could you do? Here are a few ideas to think about. When the company arrives, inform them right off the bat of your exercise schedule. If you’re excited about it they’ll be excited for you, too. In fact, invite them to join you! Maybe going to a gym isn’t practical, so instead go on a walk with your company or bring them along to a local park, swimming pool, etc. Even if you don’t think your company would join you, what’s the harm in asking? If they decline your invitation, make your intentions clear. Let them know that you’ll be away, periodically, during their stay and that it will provide them with an opportunity for some downtime. Pointing things in a positive direction helps you stay on track!
Using the above suggestions to get you going, come up with your own ideas for alternative ways to keep you on track. For each “detour” on your list create your own game plan. You’ll find that planning ahead provides you with the tools you need to keep going. In fact, a change in plans doesn’t have to be a roadblock at all. As you learn to adapt to change, you may even find that things you once viewed as roadblocks are merely speed bumps!
Good blog, Sue. It is sometimes hard to remember that we need to be sure that the goals we set are realistic and reachable, not superman goals.
Absolutely, Bev! There’s room in our futures for both goals AND dreams, but we need to remember which is which. Keeping the eye on the prize is easier when we define, exactly, what the prize is.
Thanks for the reminder that flexibility is necessary, even in goal setting . . . we so frequently set goals that are easy to derail, trying for the ideal rather than the realistic. Remembering that we don’t always control the circumstances of our lives, and planning how to minimize the impact of those times, makes “success” easier to achieve.
Thanks Wendy for your great feedback. It’s ALWAYS appreciated!
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