Now that Christmas is behind us, 2013 goals are here. Maybe this will help you reach those goals this year. Whether it is to be a better parent, help your kids, improve your marriage, exercise more, or just create a better you…this should help!
Even before you swallowed that final piece of Christmas dessert you knew that 2013 was
inches away. Why is it that we keep failing at our goals each year? Whether it is exercise,
weight loss, healthier friendships, or being a better parent, what is going wrong?
People will tell you that this is the time of year to “change your life.” That is ridiculous.
Really, you should be making subtle changes that you hardly notice. That is how habit
change occurs. Habits take over in little almost invisible ways. It is eating the fruits and
vegetables in your lunch first or snacking on salty pistachios at your desk rather than chips.
It is a five minute walk. Habit change is a small step that you can sustain, not joining the
newest lifestyle change.
Most habits take 4-6 weeks to feel natural. Your goal should not be all of 2013, but instead
get to March 1. What can you do every day between now and March 1? How will you
know success? When we clearly define what our goal is and then also make it very easy to
achieve, we will still with it. For example, I recently started eating a lower glycemic diet to
reduce likelihood of inflammation, cancer, and diabetes. Rather than stop eating everything
I loved, I have reduced those things. It’s been really easy!
Remember when you got negative and positive consequences as a kid? Maybe it was a
timeout or a special gift for your behavior. We are not much different from our childhood
selves. What will be your positive consequence for achieving your daily goal? As you create
habits rather than lifestyle change, you will see a natural progress towards craving healthier
aspects of life.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a licensed counselor in Traverse City, MI. As a kid, his dad had him write 10 goals for the coming year. It was something he hated, but now is glad to have had the guidance.