I did not make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Why? Because in the past, I’ve failed miserably at even the most basic ones like “make my bed every day.” According to an article in Forbes Magazine, I’m not alone. Only 8% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. Since I’m clearly not part of that 8%, I decided it was time to shake things up. Are you also finding it difficult when it comes to reaching your goals or sticking with your resolutions? If so, give this strategy a try and make achieving your goals a reality this year.
1. Choose a One-Word Theme
To start, you will need to choose a “theme word” to apply to your life for the next 12 months. Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before and creator of my all-time favorite podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” suggests coming up with one word (or possibly two) to encapsulate an overall theme or idea for the year. The premise is that one concept can be more powerful than a long and lofty list of often unattainable aspirations, guiding you toward reaching your goals. In 2015, Rubin’s chosen theme word was “Upgrade,” a word she associated with many parts of her life as she wanted to raise things personally and professionally “to the next level.” She even applied this theme to her electronics and smart phones!
2. Make it Simple
I like this approach for two reasons. First, it’s easy to remember. It’s ONE word. The second reason I like this strategy is that you can apply it to more than just one goal or area of self-improvement. It’s challenging and fun to find ways in which you can apply your theme word to as many areas of your life as possible. As a result, creating new habits is an enjoyable rather than a stressful or difficult process. It’s important to remind yourself that working toward reaching your goals should be a focused but pleasurable endeavor!
For 2016, I am choosing “Reach” as my theme word. I love this word. When I apply it to relationships in my life, I think of reaching out and connecting with more people; family, friends, clients and potential new business partnerships. Research indicates that strong social connections have many positive effects on your health. Enjoying the company, love and support of other humans (and sometimes animals!) releases multiple “feel-good” hormones like serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, which are known to strengthen the immune system, increase longevity and crank up feelings of happiness. I especially hope to apply this to my family relationships as both my sister and parents have recently moved further away from me and I don’t want the physical distance to weaken our bonds.
3. Apply it Everywhere
When I think of the word “Reach” I am also thinking about it professionally, in the context of reaching a larger audience. Reaching more people will enable me to impact more lives in a positive way, which in turn, will bring me a deeper level of satisfaction. There are so many ways to do this and the more time I spend making sure my actions reflect this theme, the more inspired and excited I get. Whether it is through a greater and more consistent social media presence or by speaking to more groups and organizations, the more people I can reach, the more potential there is to help someone who really needs it.
I’m also applying my theme word to my desire to become more physically fit. As I get older, I know how important it is to stay active and strong. By “reaching” new goals in my level of fitness, I know I can have more energy and prevent my nagging back and neck issues from resurfacing. These physical issues not only put me in a lot of discomfort but sometimes leave me feeling down and a bit hopeless. So, in order to progress on this facet of my life, I took an actionable step in this direction this week and hired a personal trainer! I also started using my new Fitbit Activity Tracker and got a friend to join me in doing another 30-Day Plank Challenge. Remember, if your not succeeding at reaching your goals, make sure that your actions match your intentions.
A final goal of mine is to consistently try to reach beyond my comfort zone in as many situations as I can. Who knows what my true potential might be, what I’m fully capable of and what opporunities I might be able to capitalize on? Only by putting myself out there and being confident in my ability to learn or try new things will I be able to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. Rather than listening to that inner voice that sometimes fills me with fear or self-doubt and holds me back in life, I try to tune out any such thoughts and replace them with positive, confident ones that will allow me to build upon my strengths and tackle my weaknesses, taking me further than I’ve ever been before.
4. Share Your Theme Word
As I try to envision the behavioral changes and attitude shifts that are necessary to help me “Reach” in 2016, I hope to continually push myself outside my comfort zone and become a better, stronger and happier person for it. Sharing my theme word with all of you only solidifies my intentions and encourages me to try harder to adopt the thoughts and actions necessary to fully embrace my chosen theme word. I encourage you, too, to find a theme word for 2016 and share your word and thoughts with other No Kidding Nutrition friends on this blog post or my Facebook page! Here’s to reaching your goals this year!