New year, new me? Gemma McCaw shares how small changes and positive thinking can help you stay on track with your 2021 goals.
New Year’s resolutions have had a bad rep recently, with evidence suggesting many of us have ditched the lofty goals by about mid-March. Perhaps that’s no surprise – resolutions are usually made at a time when stress levels are low and the daily routine is out the window, meaning they’re often disconnected from our real lives. But that’s not to say goal-setting isn’t important. In fact, studies show that people who set targets in life are more confident and successful than those who don’t.
Studies show that people who set targets in life are more confident and successful than those who don’t.
The key is to set intentional goals – ones that are scaffolded with intentional thinking. Simply put, it’s about bringing our awareness to the things that are important to us with commitment, attention and focus. Being intentional takes conscious effort to maintain, but with time and practice you can develop the power to achieve any goal or create any new habit you want. Here’s how to do it:
1. Glass half full
Intentionally positive language can have a huge effect on our motivation levels. Instead of saying “I want to eat less junk food”, focus on “I want to eat more healthy food”. This way, subconsciously you won’t feel deprived by taking something away, you will actually feel better by adding something good. Be kind to yourself – speak to yourself the way you would speak to a friend.
2. Ask yourself ‘why’?
Think about exactly where you want to go and why you want to go there. Do you want to increase your fitness to accomplish an event or do you want to have more energy to chase your grandkids around the park?
Tap into your own personal motivation so when the going gets tough, you can remember why you started. The goal or habit becomes something much bigger than just yourself and this way it’s easier to stick to as it has real meaning attached to it.
3. Mindset matters
World-renowned psychologist Carol Dweck studies mindset. She has found that success in work, sport, school, the arts and almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset (who believe that abilities are set in stone) are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset (who believe that abilities can be developed).
So, the next time you catch yourself thinking “I’m no good at that,” think again and change that belief system. As with anything in life, you can work towards goals, and with the right mindset and commitment to improvement, you will surely and steadily see results.
4. Be deliberate about your day
Starting each day with a clear idea of where you will focus your energy can increase your productivity and help you achieve your goals. If you want to run 5km without stopping, plan when you will exercise for the day, which route you will take and how you can make it happen. If it’s more sleep you need, set a bedtime and stick to it so it becomes a habit. Just hoping you will find the time won’t work – you actually have to make it. As we know, sleep, exercise and good nutrition are often the first things to go when we are busy, so actively prioritising these things is vital.