The new year is upon us, and for many people, they are excited about making resolutions dealing with everything from weight loss to saving more money. It’s admirable to wake up one day and decide that you want something different in your life…but how you go about it makes all the difference between success and failure, says Grant Hasty, CEO of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.
As a Counselor, Hasty has met with many people who were disappointed when their goals were not met right away. “It’s basic human nature to want to better ourselves, but in these times of ‘instant gratification,’ people are not patient enough to wait for those changes and improvements to take place.”
Whether your goal is to find a new career or improve your communication skills with your spouse or significant other, if you follow these seven simple steps the process will be easier, less stressful and more likely to be successful.
- Name It To Claim It – In other words, write down your goals, and “be specific.” Don’t just say, “I want to lose twenty pounds by bathing suit season.” Instead, come up with the steps you will need to meet that goal of losing weight. For example, you will come up with a plan that includes a combination of healthy eating, more exercise and lifestyle changes that you will need in order to see real progress. The more specific the plan the easier it is to follow.
- Keep a Positive Attitude – With the right attitude, your chances of success are very high! In life, your attitude determines how far you can go, no matter what your goal. With a positive attitude, you recognize that obstacles may interfere on a temporary basis, but you can overcome them and continue on your journey.
- Have a Support System in Place – While it may be possible to do it alone, it is better to do it with a support system in place. In other words, who can assist you and be your “cheerleader” along the way? Sometimes an encouraging word from a friend who also sees the value in the changes you are trying to make can be a big help. Make sure you set times to celebrate your successes along the way with your “cheerleader.” Those celebrations go a long way to keep the motivation and the relationship between you and your “cheerleader” positive and productive.
- Get Professional Help When You Need It – For example, a registered dietitian can make your diet healthier while still allowing you to eat some of the foods you enjoy. A personal trainer can help you design an exercise program that works for you and your schedule. A counselor can help you overcome challenges and reduce stress, no matter what goal you have chosen.
- List your Obstacles – Most professional and Olympic athletes know a key to a good plan is to identify and clarify all things that will get in your way to achieving your goal. If you know going out with the guys for wings and a game will throw you off your plan, label it as an obstacle and steer clear of it. If you know your obstacles, you can steer clear of them or make plans to overcome them.
- List the Benefits – Have a clear list of the benefits of your resolution and goals posted somewhere that you will see it often. When we focus on the benefits we will receive instead of the hard work necessary to achieve our goals it makes the process much easier to stay motivated. Try to list at least 3 benefits to focus on that will keep you going to the end.
- Don’t forget to ask God for help – God loves it when we desire to improve ourselves. A prayer for strength and perseverance is something most find very helpful when trying to make changes in our lives. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” Prayer can help us to run in a way that we might win.
If you are ready to make some positive changes in your life, take a deep breath, write down your goals, see the benefits and have the confidence to make them happen.