Just like any well laid plans, preparation is key to success. A saying during construction projects is to measure twice, cut once. You have to plan before you execute.
An important first step is knowing yourself. This is important when goal setting and coming up with an action plan. A common goal most people express to start the year (and usually abandon not long after) is to improve fitness and lose weight. We often fail to take into account our other daily commitments and how the additional actions needed to work towards our goals will fit in. Having a good sense of yourself, priorities, likes and dislikes (don’t set a goal of running a marathon if you don’t even remotely enjoy running) goes a long way in putting together a sustainable action plan to reach your goals, and this extends outside of health related issues.
It is also very important to figuring out the “why” you are setting this goal. There should be some kind of connection either emotional or spiritually. Change is hard no matter what aspect of life you are addressing, and there is always a point where you are feeling defeated and will ask yourself “Why am I putting myself through this?” Having an answer to that question can be the pilot light to keep that fire burning and the foundation for strength.
Another important aspect is setting achievable goals to allow for small victories that can help motivate you during your journey towards whatever change you are looking to make. Nobody enjoys failing at something they set out to do, and it’s easy to sabotage yourself early by biting off more than you can chew with an unrealistic goal.
I would break down a goal of getting in shape as follows: 1. Need to exercise, 2. Need healthy diet. Tackling everything at once is overwhelming. Lots of people start off the year hitting the gym working out harder than they should start with and quit going when the next day when they can barely move, or changing their diet so drastically over a short period that they no longer enjoy mealtime and go back to poor dietary choices that they previously enjoyed. A more realistic approach if you weren’t a gym regular is just to carve out the time slot and just show up; you don’t have to exercise for the first week. Wake up early, get dressed in gym clothes, and show up. That’s the first victory that can be celebrated. Little by little start adding various activities like a few minutes on the treadmill, some reps on a machine, etc. Regarding the diet, first step would be logging what is going in for analysis. That can be a small victory. Next would be identifying foods and drinks that are not conducive to the goal, such as drinking 5 sodas per day. A small goal could be cutting out one per day. Small victory.
Lastly, realizing that failure is part of the journey is important to keep in mind. Many people tend to fall off the wagon after a single failure rather than turning it into a learning opportunity and readjusting their approach to whatever particular goal they are working towards.
Knowing yourself, having strong reasons and a personal attachment to the underlying the goal, breaking down the goal to small victories that can be used for motivation, and turning failure into a learning opportunity used to adjust your approach are all necessary steps that are simple to employ to maximize chances of success with any resolution you are focused on achieving.