Now that you’ve thought about your goals, and gained clarity on why they matter to you, don’t delay but instead take decisive action as quickly as possible.
1. Plan it in
Grab your diary and decide when you will take the first steps towards achieving each goal. For instance, if your aim is to go to the gym for 30 minutes three times a week, look at your diary for the coming week and identify the windows of time.
You might have 30 minutes on a Monday evening, another 30 minutes on Wednesday lunchtime and the final chunk of time on Saturday morning. Treat these sessions like appointments and write them in your diary as if you are booking an important meeting. This will make you more likely to commit to them. Whatever goal you’re working on, this level of planning will make all the difference to your chances of establishing and sticking with new habits.
2. Acknowledge successes
For example, each time you complete a workout, tick it off in your diary. Think about how you feel at the end of each achievement. If you’ve had a stressful day and you exercise in the evening, you may find that you feel more mentally relaxed after doing some activity.
3. Stack up the positives
You may have found that having some time to yourself while you exercised helped to clear your head. Your body may feel less stiff. If your lower back felt tight from a day at the desk, it may feel better because you did some exercise.
Make a mental note of how doing your planned session felt – both during and after – and write down any positive feelings that the session gave you. The more observations you can make around all areas of your lifestyle, the easier you will find it to stay on track.
4. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect
If you found an exercise session demanding and didn’t particularly enjoy it, then give yourself credit for doing the session anyway and remember that the next one will feel better. You can also think about what elements of your goal / activity you’d like to adapt for next time. Incidentally, if your goal is exercise-related, remember that your energy levels during activity will vary depending on how busy you were at work, how much sleep you’ve had and your eating habits throughout the day.
How we feel about our goals and each element of healthy living can be quite subjective and based on the mood of the moment. Keeping notes of all your lifestyle choices will help you put daily decisions, actions and results into context and will ensure that you can refine your best approach over time.