Welcome to January! Many of us will be using the New Year to make goals. New Year's resolutions can allow us to improve ourselves every year and get closer to our ultimate goals in life; whether it’s being healthier, happier, or more financially-stable.
Yet unfortunately, many of us do not get the results we're looking for – our New Year’s resolutions fall flat. Uninspired to set bigger ones, we are disheartened and keep on failing, or set small goals that don’t even seem worthwhile to achieve. We end up feeling bored and unmotivated.
What is the cause of this? It’s a lack of knowledge. We are aware that ‘goals’ are good, but we don’t know how to use them. Or we think that what leads to success – whether it is ‘motivation’ or ‘willpower’ – is ultimately outside our control.
Fortunately, we have far more under control than we think when it comes to making our dreams come true. Here are 6 tips on how to keep your New Year's resolutions. We encourage you to use them for achieving any goal.
1. Use the SMART Goals system
The Smart Goals system is an excellent tool for developing your New Year's resolutions.
To set a SMART Goal, get a sheet of paper out per goal. On each sheet of paper, divide the paper into 5 sections. In the corresponding sections:
a) Specify the Goal
You should write a description that answers the 6 W Questions related to your goal: who (is involved), what (you want to accomplish), where (you will work towards the goal or achieve the result), when (you will achieve completion by), which (requirements or constraints you need to be aware of), why (you want to accomplish the goal).
b) Devise Measurements of the Goal
Write down the relevant numbers that you will use to measure the goal. 'Get in shape' is not a measurable goal; 'lose 5 pounds in 3 months by working out at least 4 times every week' is. The question to ask yourself during this step is this - 'how and when will I know that the goal has been accomplished?'
c) Ensure that the goal is Attainable
Now, write down why the goal is attainable (ie. why it would be possible for someone in your situation to attain the goal.) Write out the resources – time requirements, physical requirements, knowledge – that are required for the goal and how you can acquire all of them.
d) Ensure that the goal is Realistic
Now, write down why the goal is a realistic goal for you specifically to accomplish - this is where you build on attainability, showing that the goal is not just possible for someone like you to achieve, but highly likely for you to achieve given your motivation.
Making your goal realistic does not mean making it small - your goal can be huge and still realistic, assuming you have very high motivation towards completing it.
e) Ensure that the goal is Time-bound
Lastly, write down when you will accomplish the individual steps within your goal, and the due date for the completion of your goal in entirety. Having a time-frame will boost motivation as it puts pressure on you to act today, not putting action off until tomorrow.
'Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve' - Napoleon Hill
This quote is not just wildly inspirational and intuitively true, it is also backed by science. The reason is that seeing someone else doing something, or imagining yourself doing it, activates the same part of your brain as doing the thing in real life.
Granted, it does not activate it to the same extent - you will not become Usain Bolt simply by visualizing yourself running the 100m in under 10 seconds. But visualization, along with hard work, can give you an impressive advantage; researchers found that imagining oneself exercising or watching videos of people engaged in sports caused improved athletic performance by up to 15 percent.
Visualization can be used in all stages of achieving your goal. When you have just set the goal, you can often charge your motivation by using visualization of your final achievement. Visualizing is also an excellent tool to use as you work towards your goal – visualizing yourself lifting with good form, or singing a note above your range, or crushing your personal best, makes those goals seem more comfortable, personal and achievable than simply telling yourself ‘I can do it’ will.
Regardless of what you are visualizing or how close you are to achieving your goal, the key to successful visualization is making the visualization experience as immersive and realistic possible. See yourself weighing 15 pounds less. Hear your friends compliment you on how you look. You can even use visualization with emotions; imagine feeling so happy when you achieve that goal.
3. Be intensive, not extensive, with your goals
Especially when you are just starting out using the SMART Goals method, you should focus on doing just a few small goals. The reason behind this is that it will allow you to focus on doing the goals especially well. Doing fewer goals also makes them, in general, easier to keep track of, improving your chances of success.
4. Make one change at a time when attempting your goals
Many goals require substantial habit changes. For example, if you want to lose weight, you will need to get into the habit of going to the gym. Quite simply, our brains are not able to be completely focused. We naturally gravitate towards performing behaviours that we are used to, because it is mentally easier.
How to make the best of this? Make one change at a time in your habits. Once the changes have been ingrained through performing over and over again, make the next change. Soon you will find that all the actions that you need to succeed have become habits – and success will come easily.
5. Train your willpower like a muscle
Your willpower is like a muscle - the more stress you subject it to, the stronger it becomes.
Recall that, in the same way that muscles need time to recover, your willpower does too – no one has the ability to work hard or concentrate non-stop without any breaks. To recover your willpower, do things that you find really fun or amusing like see friends, go to the movies, etc. The more you train your willpower, the less of these breaks you will need.
There are, as well, certain tricks that you can use to boost your willpower quickly. One is to consume something sugary, like orange juice; this replenishes your brain's levels of glucose, which your brain burns while you are focused.
6. Reward yourself
The key to remaining motivated is giving yourself small rewards. Your brain is very good at noticing what things go together. If you follow up your work with fun things – a comforting book, dinner with your significant other – you will gradually come to associate the hard work you have been doing with those fun things. This will make it easier to bear the hard work.
A Final Word
At Santevia we talk about water a lot – you’ll have to forgive us for that, we are a water filtration company – and how it composes 70% of your entire body, 80% of your muscles, and 90% of your brain. It’s easy to see why having an appropriate quantity of water is important to achieve ones goals, whatever they are; being chronically dehydrated (as over 70% of Americans are) is bad for your health, your fitness, and your ability to focus and think.
There is more. The quality of the water that you drink is just as important as the quantity. Millions of people drink tap water, which is filled with contaminants, often in unsafe levels. 90% of Americans are demineralized, and the stressful modern lifestyle and acidic diet are pushing people towards being too acidic – wreaking havoc on their immune systems and quality of life.
We stand behind the pledge that our water – filtered, alkaline, and with added minerals – is the healthiest, cleanest, best-tasting water around. Period. We are confident that no matter what goals you have set for the New Year, our water will make the journey easier. And we would be honoured for our products to be a part of your success.
At Santevia we want people of all types to be able to enjoy the many benefits of hydration, mineralization, and alkalinity. That’s why we provide water systems of all styles at different price points. To find the perfect Santevia product for you, visit Santevia.com.