There’s a reason we make all our resolutions in January; it’s at the start of the year when all our ideas are fresh and we have BIG ambitions for what lies ahead, whether that’s related to health, wealth or working habits. But we’ve all been there; come Spring (or even February), so many of those well thought-out plans and good intentions that were made when our minds were still clouded in a post-Christmas, sugar-coated haze, get conveniently cast to the bottom of the pile, never to be referred to again (much like all those shower gel gift boxes from our Nan we’ve resigned to the back of our wardrobe).
If you’re lacking a bit of motivation for your personal and professional goals, we’ve got our #Get2018Ready event coming up this month with top speakers sharing their career tips in the film, animation and social enterprise world. But if you can’t make that and you still need a bit of help sticking to resolutions, there are scientifically backed strategies which you can employ to help you stay on track. And with any luck, they’ll keep you focused way past February, as we explain below…
A study from the University of South Carolina found that study participants in a weight loss experiment lost more when they used Twitter as a daily support tool; those who charted their progress on the site lost half a pound more for every ten tweets they sent, compared to those who didn’t open up online! Digital forums and communities on social media really do provide effective social support and can contribute to some serious success, and similar results have been spotted when friends have teamed up to keep each other in check.
Don’t fight your old habits
Science says that it’s a lot easier to tweak a current habit rather than totally get rid of it. Just think of all the times you made a vague promise to yourself to get healthier, only to leave your gym membership unused and your chocolate habit unaltered. But instead of expecting yourself to do a 180, try and create an extra link or a ‘contextual clue’ in your daily routine that will encourage you to change your behaviours, gradually. As a study in Psychology, Health & Medicine reports, introducing gradual changes can help increase your willpower over time and eventually reach your goals. For example, instead of saying “I will eat clean and exercise more,” you add a trigger into an already existing habit that will slowly help you reach that goal, such as; “I will start each Monday with a short jog around the park” or “I will make all my lunches mainly comprised of vegetables”. That way you’re not actively trying to break bad habits, you’re just rewriting them with new cues – simple!
Find a compelling reason
What will drive you to strive? Martha Carnahan, a business and life coach in Atlanta told Web MD that the most compelling goals are those that have an emotional element. She said; “You need to find a personal hook” and recommended “drilling down to the deepest why.” Say your goal is to get employed by February, you should ask yourself why you really want a job. Consider this Q&A:
Why do you want to get a job?
A: Because I want to be employed
Q: Why do you want to be employed?
A: Because I’m bored and broke.
Q: Why don’t you want to be bored and broke?
A: Because I want to feel better, and get to where I want to be long-term.
Feeling motivated yet?
Surround yourself with positive people
Science says it’s important to surround yourself with people who are going to inspire you to achieve your goals and here at Go Think Big we totally agree. We know the impact having a strong, supportive squad can have on your mindset, hence why we’ve arranged a super inspirational event called, Get 2018 Ready taking place in December 2017 in London. Come along and learn how to set and manage realistic goals, whether they’re career-focused or personal, hear from our top speakers on how to overcome setbacks, receive a free organisational goodie bag and, network with like-minded people over free food and nibbles!
Big yourself up
This might sound cheesy, but a bit of self-belief goes a long way. It’s been proven, for example that telling yourself that you will achieve your aims every day, is really more likely to get you there. Yes, you might sound mad if anyone over hears you, but using language “I can…” or “I will…” out loud can really change your mindset, if you’re used to telling yourself that failure is your only option. One of 153 college students over five weeks found that those who believed willpower was an unlimited resource and used self-affirming phrases regularly were less likely to procrastinate or eat junk food – and they had higher grades too.
Sticking to your goals is all about mind over matter and sometimes, all it takes is a little meditation in order to get your mind right. According to Buffer, meditation has been linked to increasing the amount of willpower we have available in our minds, as well as improving attention, focus, stress management and self-awareness. To get you started why not tune into one of the popular meditation apps such as Headspace, or check out our super helpful article on mindfulness.
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