Keeping your word in 2012

Here is some useful advice on making changes in your life.  You can do it “anytime” of the year but since we are clocking over a new year seems appropriate we talk about it today.  Firstly,  if you’ve deviated … don’t beat yourself up, just acknowledge it and get back on track.  Need some help,  just ask.   We at Coffs Coast Health Club are here for you & all your healthy resolutions!

Like starting a diet on a Monday, making a New Year’s resolution every year is something many of us do without much thought. As Shelly Horton discovers, if you are going to keep your pledge, you need to be smart about it.

American philosopher Elbert Hubbard said: ”Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organised their energies around a goal.” What he meant was you can change your life, you can achieve your goals, it just takes work.

No one doubts the sentiment – or importance – of our most common New Year’s resolutions, whether losing 10 kilograms, reducing our alcohol intake, quitting smoking, exercising more or getting some balance in our lives. But why do they usually not work out?

Bad habits

Clinical psychologist Grant Brecht says most of us think making a New Year’s resolution is like pressing ”control alt delete” and rebooting our lives. ”They have become a ritual for us – but most are not thought through properly. As a result, most are broken within three to five days.

”It’s become a ritual to make a New Year’s resolution; we’ve done it for generations … it’s the one time in a year we spend a few micro-seconds on setting goals and our vision for the future,” Brecht says.

”People come up with the resolution with very little thought, often alcohol-fuelled, and they don’t go through goal setting in a strategic manner. These are knee-jerk reactions and a bit flippant, not actual goals.”

Follow through

”Most people don’t expect that they’ll follow through – if only think about it for a short period of time – then they only stick to it for three to five days post New Year’s Eve,” Brecht says.

But there are ways to make them stick. The first step is to call it a ”goal” instead of a ”resolution”, then think it through carefully. ”Spend the first couple of weeks of January jotting down your ideals and values,” Brecht says.

”Goal-setting has to be strategic and linked to our value set; we each have 50 to 60 real values, such as acceptance, gratitude, caring, success and so on. When we set goals, they need to be specific to our value base, otherwise they’re are not worth doing. It needs to make a difference and lead towards a more rich and fulfilling life.”

The best resolutions will affect your quality of life, Brecht says.

”They hit the ‘me’ and then the ‘we’. They are the most valuable sorts of goals you can set.”

Brecht recommends using a framework to help you set and stick to goals, such as the SMART criteria, because the more preparation and thought you put into it, the better chance you have of succeeding (see breakout box, left).

”The worst resolution is if you simply look in the mirror on New Year’s Eve and just say, ‘I want to lose some weight.’ That’s not really anything that you’re likely to stick to. Instead, make it ‘I need to be fit for life because I want stave off a heart attack and live longer, and looking good in a swimsuit is just a bonus,”’ Brecht says.

Be realistic

Setting fantasy goals is another bad idea. ”If you say, ‘I want to play tennis like Roger Federer,’ but you don’t have any natural skill and don’t want to practise much, you’re just setting yourself up for failure,” Brecht says.

Make sure you write down your goals, too. ”Keep them on your desk at work, on the fridge, beside your bed, wherever you can eyeball them so you don’t forget them,” Brecht says. ”It’s important to check in on your progress every couple of weeks.

Positive change

”But remain flexible. If you’ve deviated from your goal, don’t beat yourself up, just acknowledge it and get back on track. If you beat yourself up, you’ll demotivate yourself.”

You should also see goal-setting as a challenge, not a problem.

”When it’s a challenge, the energy flows in and we’re positive,” Brecht says.

”When it’s a problem, you tend to feel pessimistic about the past and say things like, ‘I’ve failed before, so why bother?’ If you’re positive, you are more inclined to get positive results.”

This year I’m going to …

”I never make them. I make resolutions all the time and action them immediately. I’m not waiting around until the first of January!”

Alex Perry, fashion designer.

Alex Perry

”To drink less and eat more apples!”

Matt Stafford, DJ and star of The Stafford Brothers on Fox 8.

”To finally crack it in the US market.”

Chris Stafford, The Stafford Brothers.

”In 2012 I’m determined to touch more people inappropriately. It seems silly not to at least make an effort.”

Julia Morris, comedian.

”My resolution is to write as many songs as possible and to learn French fluently!”

Casey Burgess, Hi-5.

Casey Burgess.

”After a few years of hard work this is my New Year’s resolution … more time with family, more time in the ocean, more time in the garden … my garden. I hope everyone gets to do the same.”

Jamie Durie, celebrity gardener.

”Drop the rest of my breakfast [radio] belly, finish writing my book and volunteer with Youth Off the Streets.”

Mieke Buchan, TV and radio presenter.

”Exercise more, eat less sugar and learn to chew my food properly.”

Toni Pearen, actor.

Toni Pearen

”Generally, I am always making new resolutions so I don’t save them for January. Currently, I am trying to run six kilometres a day. It is killing me.”David Campbell, singer.

”Reflect – put time aside every day to appreciate my job and how lucky I am.”

Dan Ewing, actor.

”To appreciate more and stress less. Oh, and I want to learn how to play the guitar.”

Harry Cook, actor.

”To be more patient. I’m even rushing myself to write the sentence! My wish for the world … is that kids are allowed to be kids and adults act like adults.”

Charli Robinson, radio and TV presenter.

”If I had to pick one thing it would have to be patience. I need more patience.”

Zoe Balbi, actor.

”To have continued success but my main resolution is to spend more time with my loved ones in the midst of jet-setting the country.”

Timomatic, singer-dancer.

”To take over the world – pretty easy to do, right? Oh, and to quit smoking – even easier to do!”

Josh Flinn, Australia’s Next Top Model mentor.

Josh Flinn.


S (Specific)

Your goal is well-defined and clear enough that anyone looking at it can understand what you want to do.

M (Measurable)

You’ll have a clear map of how you will achieve your goal – with concrete criteria for tracking your progress.

A (Achievable)

Make sure your goal is realistic and that you have the time and resources to achieve it. Share your goals with others, especially if you are enlisting help.

R (Relevant)

Is your goal really going to have a positive effect on your life? That’s crucial to how willing you will be to do the necessary hard work.

T (Time-based)

Give yourself a deadline. Create a timeline and make yourself accountable. Be practical – you can’t lose 20 kilograms in four weeks but you might be able to shed half a kilogram a week in 40 weeks.

Information sourced from The Sydney Morning Herald


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