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Do These 5 Things to (Actually) Stick to Your Goals

Remember at the beginning of the year, you made New Year's resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, think positively?

And then remember how easy it was to slide back into old patterns about six days later?

Why is it so hard to stick to your goals? Because change is big. It's scary.

But you don't want to hit next January with the same resolution. How boring. How tedious. How last year!

So what do you do? Put one foot in front of the other for a start. You need to lose weight? Go to the gym. You need to think positively? Give yourself a mirror mantra every day. You need to quit smoking? Buy yourself some nicotine gum.

Change starts in small ways. I don’t expect you to be smoke free by the end of tomorrow. Nor do I think you'll have dropped those stubborn 10 pounds by Thursday

What I do expect is every day you're on your way to accomplishing your goals—whatever they may be.

Here are some small steps to help you achieve your daily dose of change - to actually stick to your goals:

1. Devote at least 15 minutes a day to Your Change

Even if it's just a walk around your neighbourhood, one less cigarette or reading an inspirational article (see quotes below).

Mix it up, too. No one wants to be stuck doing some tedious workout regime. It makes it seem so much more miserable, doesn't it? So pick up the paddle ball set, the tennis rackets or the Frisbee and go spend time with your family or friends.

2. Fork over the Truth

Until I decided to get honest with myself about why I was reaching for chips instead of taking healthy risks, I thought it was all about the food. In reality, I was getting a huge payoff for stuffing food down my face—I got to play it safe.

What's your payoff for not changing? Until you can get real, you'll never be able to stick with your plan. Behaviour modification teaches us that we repeat behaviour that makes us feel good.

What that means to you is until the goal becomes larger than the payoff, you're always going to choose feeling good over feeling uncomfortable.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Instead of concentrating on losing 20 pounds in 20 days, my goal was simply to begin by eating five fruits and vegetables a day.

I truly believe that good choices lead to more good choices (unfortunately it works the other way, too!), and my goal was simply to honour the five-a-day plan.

I didn't expect an overnight miracle or body transformation. Rather, I spent months developing this new pattern of behaviour before adding anything else to my plate; in other words, one behaviour at a time.

4. Never Eliminate ... Replace

When I go to the movies, I want popcorn. My husband only chooses the heavily buttered and salted kind, so I sneak in (hey, I'd buy it if they sold it!) my Jolly Time 94% Fat Free buttered popcorn.

If I simply tried to eliminate eating popcorn at the movies while he was munching next to me with sheer delight, I'd probably find my hand coated with grease before the previews were over.

If your goal includes eliminating a specific behaviour, it must be replaced with a new behaviour if you want permanent change. If we don't substitute a behaviour, we end up creating a big void that leads to obsessive thinking, which eventually leads to falling back into old patterns.

5. Find Support

Very few people are able to get where they're going on their own.

We all need encouragement and support throughout our journey of change. For you, maybe that's a friend to hold you accountable or a group that is like-minded in where they want to go.

There is power in numbers, and we can use this to our advantage. Although I had embraced many healthy eating habits over the course of a year, I felt that I needed some added encouragement to keep going.

Change isn't easy. But it's something you can achieve as long as you're not looking for the quick fix, but are willing to make daily choices that will bring you lasting results.

Some days you'll have setbacks, but that doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel. It's simply an opportunity to recommit yourself to your goal.

Have fun with it!


To give you a little extra inspiration on your leadership journey, here are four quotes from people I consider to be among the most influential leaders of all time.

Not all of them held traditional leadership roles, but they all helped change the world in immeasurable ways.

“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” — Sir Winston Churchill

 “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale

 “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”  — General George S. Patton

 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou


Source: – Colette Carlson – Feb 9, 2016


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