Whether it’s quitting smoking, drinking less, getting fitter or losing inches/pounds, using the tips and psychological “hacks” below will give you a head-start!
Note – In this article we’ll use the example of re-committing (or committing for the first time ever!) to some form of activity or exercise, but the below applies to any new habit.
Our New Normal Survey showed that people are finding it harder to keep physically fit during the unprecedented times we’re in right now…
- 45% have been more sedentary
- 35% have had less time to exercise
- 83% see themselves working from home in the future
Exercise might be daunting, but you’ll feel so much better if you do something…. And don’t worry – You don’t need to throw on the spandex and cycle or run 10 miles a day! A little extra activity goes a long way.
Rely on proven psychology, not willpower
You might have noticed how easily resolutions fall by the wayside… Willpower is exactly as it sounds – Too keep your will up, you need to constantly add energy (power) to it.
The secret is to harness your deeper motivation – to change your environment and therefore make it easier to achieve your goals.
Strengthen your support
Buddy up with a friend or colleague to make sure you stay on the fitness wagon on those days when you feel a little weaker.
Record your reasons clearly
Why do you want to get healthier? What positives will you feel when you do? Who else in your life will benefit?
Setting Outcomes creates a sense of direction and purpose, i.e. the WHY this is important!
Thinking about the ‘WHY’ focuses our attention and energy and avoids wasting time and effort. It also means that in moments of weakness, you have something concrete to refer to, which helps you to renew your commitment.
Commit to your intention out loud
Write it down and leave it somewhere you can regularly read it. Ask friends and family to support you. Be proud of your ambition – Post it on Facebook or Twitter! Join groups that keep your mind on the mission.
Make your targets SMART
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Time Bound and is used in business a lot, BECAUSE IT WORKS!
It’s easy to lose track of goals such as ‘exercise more’. But with SMART targets you are specific (e.g. ‘In the next two months, I want to exercise at least once a week for an hour’). This doesn’t leave room for excuses and is also time-bound which makes it measurable. When the two months are over you can ask yourself: ‘Have I been exercising twice a week?’ and if not, why?
In summary, SMART stands for;
S = Simple/Specific
Complex targets become fuzzy – keep it simple! What specifically do you want? What resources do you need to achieve this?
M = Measurable/Meaningful
How will you know when you have achieved it?
A = Achievable/As if now/All areas of life
Your goals should be just out of reach, but not out of sight! If you can’t achieve it, you’ve set yourself up to fail. Use language as if you have already achieved the goal e.g. “I am financially secure” as opposed to “I want to be financially secure”. This speaks to your subconscious more powerfully. Is the goal consistent with all areas of your life or will it conflict with other goals?
R = Relevant/Realistic/Responsible
Set goals that are relevant to your needs – What would make the biggest difference to your life? If the goal appears unattainable, break it down into smaller “milestone” goals.
T = Timed/Towards
When do you want to have achieved your goal? Remember to set realistic timeframes. Make it a positive target so you are motivated towards it, e.g. change the statement “I don’t want to be fat” into “I am slim and healthy”, or “I want to stop sitting in front of the TV so much” can be changed into “I enjoy spending my time tending the garden for an hour a week”. Remember – the unconscious mind cannot process negatives.
E = Evaluate
What do you have now, and what do you need to achieve the goal? Do you need to change your tactics to continue moving forward?
R = Reversible
Are you still happy with your goal? Do you need to go back a few steps and change direction?
Below is an example table to give you an idea of how to refine your goals to make them as effective as possible;
You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not grab a pen and paper… Give it a go right now!
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Healthy Best Wishes – The Boost Wellbeing Team