Rosh Hashanah is a great time for new resolutions. A lot of the focus during this time is put on spiritual change and growth. But it’s also a great time to focus on health goals. Let’s take a minute to focus on what it takes to really make a change, and how to apply that to not only spiritual goals, but health goals as well.
Pinpoint your goal and make it count
It’s extremely common for people to create goals for themselves that are unrealistic. This is called overachieving. A person might think that they are going to get more done by having high goals or multiple goals, but in reality, they are setting themselves up for disaster. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have high-set goals. Just do it the right way, and don’t focus on too many at a time. Choose 1 or 2 prominent goals and put aside specific times to focus on them.
“A dream without a plan is just a wish” – Katherine Peterson.
Having a goal is great, but achieving it is even greater. One of the main reasons people do not achieve their goals is a lack of a plan. The plan is the ladder between where you are now and where you want to be, but you must build it.
A long-term goal is your ultimate goal. You may see it very far down the line, but it’s something that you know you want. Maybe it’s losing the baby fat or the extra 10 pounds, or it’s cooking healthier in the house, feeling better about yourself or being more positive. Whatever it is, it should be clear that this is what you are choosing to work on. Write it down or have it on your home screen of your phone so that it stays at the front of your mind.
Short term goals are the stepping stones that are going to get you to your long-term goal and they are just as crucial, if not more, than your long-term goal. Research has shown that success breeds success, so reaching a smaller goal will automatically motivate you to keep going. You will also be able to reward yourself and show yourself that you are able to reach your goals. Most importantly though, the short-term goals are your plan of action and a plan needs to include baby steps: realistic steps that you will easily be able to master one after the other.
Don’t procrastinate. If you just made yourself a list of easy steps to get to your first short term goal, do the first step. If you are still reading this and thinking “hmm, maybe I should pick a goal and make a plan” then stop, take out a pen and paper and write something down that you want to do. Take your time, but there is no better time to start than when your head is already in the game. Inspiration fades quickly and the only way to keep it alive is to do something on the spot.
You might think that making the plan is a big part of success, but even without a plan, just tracking your progress regarding anything you want to improve, can increase your chances of getting there by about 95%. According to the American Psychological Association, the more often you track your progress, the higher chance you have of succeeding. Needless to say even with a plan, you should be tracking your progress both to note what is your next step, and to see how far you have already come.
The Reward System is a part of the brain that reacts positively or negatively to the stimuli that it receives in connection to an action. In other words, if something you do gives you a positive feeling, the brain conditions you to want to do it again. If we use this, we can train our brain to help us stay motivated by positively reinforcing the actions we want to repeat.
Any time you reach a short-term goal, reward yourself. You can add these rewards in while making your step-by-step plan in order to further motivate yourself. When you reach a long-term goal, have a bigger reward waiting so that you not only get the pleasure of reaching your goal, but you get an extra bonus as well. This will help you be motivated to continue to your next goal as well.
So next time you hear yourself saying “I should really…” think again if it might be something you want to turn into a long term goal. It takes commitment but the results you see are going to be worth it.