A new year has started and the tradition of making lifestyle changes has not changed. But to be honest, all too often these resolutions are all talk and little action.
Goals are created for the year and slowly we lose momentum (and enthusiasm) to achieve them. The hiccup is that our goals are too lofty and vague, and we don’t create an action plan to achieve them, explains Joy Giorgio, behavioral health therapist and case manager at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.
Small achievable steps
The best way to achieve goals is to break them down into small achievable steps. This helps squash feelings of hopelessness, negativity or being overwhelmed. When you complete each small step, reward yourself for the progress.
Here’s an example of how to keep it simple:
- Research the different types of yoga (complete by this Saturday)
- Make a list of yoga classes in my area (complete by Tuesday)
- Call the studios to find out the cost (complete by Thursday)
- Find comfortable clothes in my closet that I can wear to class (complete by next Saturday)
- Buy a yoga mat (complete by next Monday)
- Go to the class (Complete by next Wednesday)
Get crafty with a vision board
Giorgio also suggests grabbing a pair of scissors and a few thumbtacks to create a vision board. Hang up a few pictures of activities you want to do when you get into shape, such as hiking, going on a backpacking trip or being able to swing your kids at the playground.
Hold the scissors for one minute. Pictures on your vision board are not of airbrushed, size 0 models pulled from a fashion magazine. Choose pictures that are real representations of how your life will be different, more satisfying and fulfilling because you have taken the steps to start a workout routine.
Each day when you wake up, take a look at your vision board (a representative of your overall goal) and ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing today going to help me get closer to meeting my overall goal?”
Having the right mentality
How would you talk to your daughter if she was learning to ride a bike? We wouldn’t say, “Oh you fell on your third try, you should just give up. You’ll never get it!”
Wrong. We would say something like, “It’s okay. Everyone falls in the beginning. I know it can be challenging. Let’s try it again!”
The most important advice that Giorgio shares is to be kind to yourself. Practice acceptance of what is and have a willingness to change in order to be effective. If you experience a setback, don’t beat yourself up. Simply try again and take it as a learning experience.