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Building Better Habits

September 17, 2021

Stay Committed to Your Goal and Ultimately Reach It

By Aly Hayes

The clock strikes midnight on January 1st and the journey to hit those New Year’s resolutions by December 31st begins.

Fast forward: It’s September 1st and you have struggled to stay consistent with hitting those goals you set for yourself. Maybe this happens every year and every year you get mad at yourself for not following through. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Insanity! Here are a few ways to help you stay committed to your goal and ultimately reach it.

Start Small

You’ve heard of “quitting cold turkey”, but have you heard of a “jackrabbit start”? A jackrabbit start means to go or start forward with a rapid sudden movement. While typically referring to a drivers’ heavy foot on the accelerator of a car, it can also be applied making any type of life change. Don’t go from doing nothing to doing too much.

     What you can do:

  • Break up a long-term goal into short-term goals
  • Take it week by week

     What I do:

While playing competitive soccer from middle school through college, I would find myself working out one to two times every day; when I stopped playing soccer, it dropped to a few times a month. Instead of throwing myself back into “two-a-days”, I set a goal to work out 3 times a week.

Write It Down

Have you ever gone grocery shopping without a list? It’s chaotic. You end up leaving the store with way more than you need, and when you get home, you realize you forgot the pasta sauce and garlic bread for the spaghetti you planned to make tonight (guilty!). Writing things down allows you to visually see what needs to be done so you can take the proper action and actually achieve your goals.

     What you can do:

  • Create a daily or weekly to-do list. Add stuff to it. Cross completed things off.
  • Stick post-it notes in places you’ll likely see the reminder (i.e.: bathroom mirror, work desk, refrigerator, etc.)

     What I do:

Big post-it note girl here! Every week I write on individual notes what needs to be done: “schedule dentist appointment”, “buy dog food”, “workout 3x”. As I finish each task, I dispose of the note. For something like “workout 3x”, I tally until I hit my mark and then dispose of the note. I create clutter, then remove clutter by completing my tasks!

Be Held Accountable

Tonight: “I’m going to do x tomorrow morning!”

Tomorrow morning: “I’ll sleep in a little bit longer, rest is important, too. I’ll just definitely do x tomorrow morning.”

Does this interaction with yourself feel all too familiar? You’re not alone. Find what motivates you and use it to get you on track and keep you on track.   

     What you can do:

  • Know your why – what’s the reason behind your goal?
  • Join a group that matches up with what you’re trying to do (i.e.: fitness group, book club, golf league, etc.).

     What I do:

I joined a kickboxing gym! By doing this, I’m being held accountable by the instructors and by everyone else taking the class that I’ve started to get to know by going a few times every week. I’ve always played team sports so I know that I succeed more and push myself in a team environment.

Reward Yourself

Make accomplishing your goal worth it! Motivate yourself with knowing what’s “at the end of the tunnel”. You can reward yourself as you work to complete your goal, and you can reward yourself once you finally hit the goal!

     What you can do:

  • Watch an episode of your favorite show guilt-free after you complete part of your daily or weekly goal.
  • Go out to that fancy restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Figure out what motivates you and use it as a reward once you achieve a goal.

     What I do:

I love shoes, especially sneakers! I have my eye on a pair of Nikes, but will only buy them after I hit my goal of working out 3x a week for 3 months.

Establish A Routine

I make my bed every morning when I wake up. This is something that I can control, and it makes me feel good after I do it; I already get to check something off my daily to-do list. It’s my routine. A routine can improve your focus and productivity. Everyone can have a different routine, so find what works for you.

     What you can do:

  • Set your alarm for earlier than you need to be up to give you more time in the morning to complete a task.
  • Make a list of your daily task and check them off as you complete them.

     What I do:

As much as I’ve tried to add a workout into my morning routine, it’s just not for me. What has worked is using my lunch break as my time to work out. It’s a nice way to break up my workday and gives me that boost of energy to move into the afternoon that would normally require a cup of coffee.

These are just a few tips to help get you started, but remember, it’s not a magic formula that works for everyone. Find what works best for you, and if you keep trying and stick with it, in the end you’ll succeed!

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