A survey commissioned by vitamin and lifestyle brand Healthspan reveals the top goal for 2020 is to lose weight (over 40%); the third most common one is to pay off any debts and get back on track financially, over 30% want to improve their home, over 28% the quality of their sleep, nearly 17% want to cut down on the booze and nearly 10% say they want to overhaul their diet entirely.
So, how to get your life back on track and achieve everything you want this year. We asked experts, Dr Meg Arroll and Judymay Murray, how we can make this the best year yet.
Dr Meg Arroll, a chartered psychologist working with Healthspan says, ‘This year is predicted to see a move away from debates about mindfulness and mindlessness and is set to be the year of making change by being more self-aware. We’ve survived a year of turmoil and now is a time for action, no more sleep-walking through life.’
Judymay Murphy, a motivational speaker and success coach at Success For Sensitives says, ‘By all means have a large goal in mind and something big to achieve in 2020 but start off by being resolute about what you will achieve month by month. The brain can’t conceive of an entire year and giving yourself such a large time frame will result in a lack of urgency and precision. For example, if your goal is to transform your home into a dream home make that your ultimate 12 month plan but make this month, say, all about redecorating one room or devoting an hour or so a day to the project to make it do-able.’
Dr Meg Arroll adds ‘By increasing self-awareness and knowing our barriers – practical, emotional and social – we can help to overcome obstacles and truly reach our goals. Sometimes we are simply too hard on ourselves and set unattainable goals, particularly when it comes to health and well-being like losing weight or giving up drinking. When we don’t reach these unrealistic goals, we berate ourselves and fall back into self-destructive bad habits. By being more compassionate with ourselves we’re more likely to develop a positive mindset that achieves positive results.’
Judymay Murphy advises breaking your goals down into more likely achievable chunks, ‘Set yourself a daily minimum timescale within the agreed monthly goal. For example, if your goal is to get fitter start by walking around the block for 15 minutes every day or if it is to be tidier, spend 15 minutes daily decluttering daily for the whole of this month. Make the commitment small enough that you can do it even when you feel depleted of energy but large enough so that it feels like progress.
Dr Meg Arroll: The key to making goals and dreams a reality is by becoming a “realistic optimist”. Being unrealistically optimistic means, you believe good things will just happen to you and the capacity for disappointment is great when they don’t happen leaving you feel you have failed. A realistic optimist is someone who believes in the power to make good things happen whilst knowing that life isn’t all hearts and rainbows. By framing your thinking in this way you’ll be in the best possible starting position possible and better able to deal with any knocks and bumps along the way. Many people stick with the status quo rather than setting goals for fear of failure but the other thing to remember is none of us need to work towards our goals on our own. The majority of people in the Healthspan survey said they found it easier to succeed with support from friends, family or an online source like the Healthspan* website.
Judymay Murphy: ‘To help solidify your goals it can help to decide on a word or phrase to describe who you are going to be in 2020. For instance, if you know that your goal will require you to be more energised/decisive/disciplined than you normally are say, to get fit or change your diet make this word or phrase your mantra so your brain and body know to increase those feelings and/or character traits that may have been languishing dormant inside you. The one I tend to use is “You’ve got this” – try it whenever you are wavering in your chosen goal/s. If someone offers you an alcoholic drink, for example, when you have vowed to give it up remind yourself “I’ve got this” and politely but firmly decline. The more you practice saying no, the easier your goal not to drink becomes.’
Dr Meg sums up: ‘When we have a more positive mindset, we can set life-enhancing goals that not only benefit us but our families, friends, and communities. Look at 2020 as the year of the 4 A’s – acceptance, awareness (of self), accountability and action. Now we have the semblance of more political stability in the country it’s time to take decisive steps to reach your goals but do it compassionately. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your closest friends. Approach your goals in a positive, supported manner so you are not adding to any life stresses you may already have.’