Happy New Year and welcome to January 2020. I hope you’re doing well with your resolutions and your goals. You may have found you’ve already had a little bit of a wobble. However, whatever stage you’re at, I want to talk about how you can make your goals a success.

The fact that we’ve entered a new year isn’t going to be enough to get you through the stages of change. You cannot rely on the fact that it’s a new year with a “new year, new you” concept. You really need to be clear on your intent – the calendar change isn’t enough.

Ask yourself, what is your intent? What do you really want to get done?

I would always try and find out what really sits behind that goal, because very often it is more than just the weight loss (for example). What it really could be about is repressed trauma, or very low self-esteem, or even a deep anxiety about your future health – it could be any number of things. But it’s harder for people to admit that and a weight loss goal is something that we all accept – especially in January. So, ask yourself the why, why, why do I really want this, until you get to the truth of what you want to achieve. Stare that in the face and get comfortable with it.

One of my suggestions is to think about the five stages of change:

Pre-contemplation phase: The first stage – you think you might want to do something. Start to entertain the idea, but you’re nowhere ready to do the piece that I’ve just talked about.

Contemplation phase: If I’m going to do this, what might need to happen? How am I to feel? How much time do I need to allocate to it? This is a really important phase.

Preparation/Research phase: The preparation or the research phase is very much about looking into who might help you, what do you need to know, where might you need to go, what kind of support’s available, who else has done it really well and look at case studies and testimonials.

Action phase: That’s getting in touch with a coach. It’s doing an online quiz. It’s looking into what gyms you can join; what classes are available. That’s where you’re, as the name suggests, taking action. By this point, you’ve made your mind up of what you’re going to do. What your intent is and why now is the time you’re going to do it.

Maintenance phase: The final phase comes in. That’s where you’ve achieved what you want to achieve and now, you’re just maintaining that goal.

Those are the five stages of change. Think about where you are in those stages, and don’t try and jump ahead too quickly. Follow all of the stages and get clear on your intent, pick apart what your real goal is, not the one you think is acceptable to people or yourself. Get clear on why now is the time to make a change and understand where you are in those stages of change, and you’ll very likely to be successful. Of course, we wish you all the best.

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of SE22 magazine.