Happy New Year, everyone! While New Year’s weekend is super fun and relaxing, on January 3rd, real life began again. I was so used to having a break, that somewhere inside, I dreaded getting back to the daily grind. This is why I find it important to take it one step at a time.
Don’t have too many goals
Many people have so many new year’s resolutions that it is impossible to complete them all. Pick the most important 1 – 3 goals and focus on them.
Make your goals simple, achievable and concrete
One common goal for adults is to lose weight, maybe 10 or 20 pounds. This is a challenging goal. What will you do to get there? How will you be able to predict a date when it will happen? How will you handle setbacks?
This is what you can do instead. Set a goal to lose 4 pounds in 6 weeks. This is an achievable goal if you follow through with the right steps to get there. Instead of radically changing your diet and exercise routine, which may not be sustainable, just reduce desserts to twice a week, limit carbs, and walk at least 1 mile per day. After 6 weeks, if you have not met your goal, you can try something else, maybe with the help of a Dr. or nutritionist, for another 6 weeks.
You also may have goals as a parent
One common goal for parents is to make homework time work more efficiently in your house. Maybe your child is procrastinating, has too many distractions, and starts homework too late. Maybe your child is not open to listening to your fabulous ideas about streamlining homework. Set a goal to make homework completion a priority at your house. Talk to your child about setting a homework time each day. Preferably, a parent will be available during part of this time to help if needed. Do not get bogged down in the details of the homework. Start with the simple goal of having a homework time, say for 1.5 hours starting at 4:00. After a week, discuss how that went and re-evaluate.
Set Rewards for completing goals
If you lose that four pounds in six weeks, treat yourself to new jeans. If your child successfully completes homework during the allotted times period for one week or even 3 days, make his favorite meal for dinner or buy his favorite dessert.
Don’t let setbacks get you down
It is guaranteed that we will not meet our goals each time. But do not give up. If you only lost 2 pounds, you can adjust the program. Increase your aerobic exercise 2-3 days per week, decrease portion size slightly, or stay on the same program and give yourself more time to lose 2 additional pounds. If your child is unable to complete his homework in 1.5 hours, have a meeting to discuss the obstacles. Did he get bogged down on one thing? Did he lose focus? One adjustment that might be more achievable getting started could be to finish a particular assignment in 40 minutes.
Write down or type your goals to refer to regularly
If you only have one to three goals, you can add a few steps for each. For the losing weight goal, you can add, “I walked 1.5 miles today” and check it off – so satisfying. Your child can write, “I will finish my homework before dinner” or “I will focus only on homework for 30 minutes and ask mom if I need help.”
Don’t expect to always be self-sufficient
Mom may need a weight loss coach and her daughter may need an academic coach to move things along.
So, start the new year slowly, with achievable sustainable goals and rewards for your efforts and accomplishments.
By Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success