Here are some tips to help you reach your 2021 goal:
1. Set habit-based goals, not outcome based goals.
An outcome-based goal is something like “I want to lose 10 pounds.” The problem with that is you can’t control your weight. You can influence it, but you can’t strictly control it.
By contrast, a habit-based goal might be “I want to have 1 salad per day, 4 days a week.” What goes in your mouth, you can strictly control.
The other benefit to setting habit-based goals is they make you feel more successful. For instance, if you set an outcome-based goal, like losing weight, you’re not totally in control of it, so if you up a pound or two for reasons other than fat gain (normal water fluctuations), you feel defeated. But if the focus changes from something that you can’t control, to something that you can, you feel successful if you indeed ate the salad once a day, 4 days a week.
2. Set small goals. Set a goal that is smaller than you think you can do.
This is a principle I learned from Precision Nutrition. Basically, think to yourself – “on a 0-10 scale, how easy is this to do?” If the answer is anything less than a 9 out of 10, make it easier.
Let’s go back to our salad example. If you think that eating salad once a day 4 days a week is a 6 out of 10, you probably won’t do it. So make it easier. Ask yourself how easy it would be to eat a salad once a day, 2 days per week. Keep making it easier until it’s at least a 9 out of 10.
Then, do that consistently. After 2-8 weeks, increase it to maybe 3 days per week, and see how it goes. Then after 2-8 weeks, increase it to 4 days per week, and so on.
3. Get an accountability partner
If you have a history of 40, 50, 60 or more years not following a certain habit, it’ll be hard work establishing that habit. You’ll have slip ups, and that’s normal – part of the process. The important thing when you do have a slip up is to analyze what caused the slip up, and plan to avoid it in the future.
It’s much easier to do if you have an accountability partner. The best accountability partner is the one that lives with you, whether it’s a spouse, parent, child, roommate, etc. If all people in a household are on the same page, it’s much easier to stick to your goal then if you’re the only one.
But if the person/people in your household aren’t on the same page, perhaps consider getting a personal trainer.