I’ve been through every phase of new year’s resolutions there is. I’ve set yearly goals. I’ve set monthly goals to make it easier. I’ve set ridiculous goals. I’ve even set very easy goals so that it is almost impossible not to achieve them. Yet, every year, by June, I’m back to my lazy habits. Even the goals I did achieve – like starting a budget – only really last a couple of months.
This year, I’ve set one goal – to lose weight (since 2018 was a very indulgent year for me). While some of you might laugh or roll your eyes and say we’ve all been there, I actually plan to achieve this goal with a simple new approach: the two-minute rule.
It is often used to fight procrastination, but is also an ingenious way to achieve your goals. Essentially, the rule says that nothing that you want to achieve should take you more than two minutes to do. While it doesn’t literally mean that you can lose weight in two minutes, the idea is to get yourself started on your goals.
If you aim, like me, to lose that muffin top that bulged into a full-blown stomach without you realising, the two-minute rule would suggest that you take only a couple of minutes to work on losing weight. This can be as simple as walking through the veggie aisle while shopping or putting on your running shoes.
Whether you actually eat the veggies or run is not really the concern. Rather, it is about taking the time to positively conditioning yourself to work towards your goals. I mean, if you have your running shoes on, you might as well go outside. If you are outside, you might as well walk around the block.
Before you know it, you have conditioned yourself to run regularly.
This works for most goals. Do you want to volunteer? Why not email the organisation to see what days and times they need volunteers. Would you like to write a book? Why not start a word document with a title you’d like to use? Break your goal up into something very simple that won’t take more than two minutes to do.
Making time for your goals
The next challenge is finding time to do it. Make it really simple for yourself. Instead of saying you’ll write every day, try writing a couple of days a week or on Sunday mornings.
I try and exercise at least three times a week. Even if I only to 20 sit ups, it counts. Sure, it’s not a lot, but it is more than I did in 2018. I have a calendar on my bedroom wall on which I mark off the days that I exercised and are healthy. It is a visual manifestation of how I’m doing on my goal.
This is especially useful for something like weight loss, which is often not visible on your body for the first couple of weeks. It helps me stay motivated and even encourages me to do a little more.
Also, try and hold yourself accountable. For example, I have a weigh in every week. While I’m less concerned with whether I have lost anything, my goal is not to gain weight. A healthy lifestyle and exercise will eventually result in weight loss.
Do whatever works for you. Get a friend to proof read your book and ask about the next chapter to motivate you to write. Have your partner ask for veggies (even if they don’t like them) to motivate you to cook healthier meals.
Goals should be things we do to improve ourselves. The easiest way to make sure we actually do them is by making them part of our daily routine and getting ourselves excited by them.
If you don’t have a goal for 2019, I would encourage you to get one. Take it from someone who has done the whole “no more new year’s goals”. It is better to fail horribly at trying to improve yourself than to not try at all. Even if you don’t achieve your goal quite like planned, 2019 could be the year you get a step closer to the person you aim to be.