Most people make vague very well intended goals such as get fit, lose weight or quit smoking. Theses are long-term goals. However, without a visible reward people get discouraged and revert back quickly into old habits. As a result, progress is difficult to realize while a lot of hard work is going on.
Breaking your goal down into smaller short-term measurable bites allows you to achieve daily success and encourages you to keep going until a new habit can emerge which generally takes a minimum of 30 days. Your first short-term goal should be one you know you can achieve and one you are ready to act on now. Lifestyle changes don't happen overnight, so be sure to carve out stop gaps along the way to allow for missteps or "cheater days." Tell friends and family about your short-term goals so they can be helpful and non-judgemental. This offers you accountability. Above all give yourself kudos for recognizing your desire to change and don't judge yourself harshly. Manage your expectations. Get real. Write your plan down to monitor your success and review the plan when circumstances change or results are not forthcoming.
Let me share my New Year's resolutions with you:
1. Long-term goal: Improve overall health.
2. Short-term goal: I will have only 1 to 2 cups of coffee (16 oz) per day by 3/1/2021.
a) Use only 8 oz coffee mug. Determine how much coffee I'm acutally drinking by 1/7/2021.
b) Allow only 2 cups of coffee in the AM before noon, and 1 cup of coffee in the PM between 1/7/2021 and 1/21/2021.
c) Allow only 2 "short" cups of coffee in AM, and 1 "short" cup of coffee in the PM from 1/21/2021 to 2/7/2021, i.e. 6 oz each. Measure out 6 oz in the coffee mug.
d) Allow 1 cup of coffee in the AM, 1 cup in the PM starting 2/7/2021. Contingency plan: Allow 2 cup of coffee in the AM, no coffee in the P.M.
Achieving what might seem like a very minor goal can actually be life-changing and jumpstart success. I estimate I drink about 5 to 6 cups of coffee a day with 2 tablespoons of half and half in each cup.This is 40 calories per cup or 200 to 240 calories a day! That's a lot of empty calories (1400 to 1680 per week)! If I meet my goal of 2 cups per day, I reduce my caloric consumption by 86 calories per day or 840 to 1120 per week. That is 3360 per month which is equal to 1 pound of weight loss per month! Of course, this is a very general rule but with everything else being equal, I am well on my way to achieving my long-term goal of overall health by initiating this "minor" change. Who knew?! So try it out this year. Set your own little short-term goals, and let me know how it goes.
Audrey says I'm using the SMART method without even realizing it. If you're interested, check it out for yourself.