One of the things that the Stanford program did that I really liked was to help us set weekly goals and action plans. Goals and plans were encouraged to be “real” rather than ideal and I found these small, short term goals to be really helpful for me. So, I’m going to start setting weekly goals here on Mondays (and probably re-post this list as a reminder). Join me if you like.
look for alternative ways to accomplish this goal,
start making short-term plans by making an action plan or agreement with yourself,
carry out your action plan,
check the results,
make changes as needed, and
remember to reward yourself.
Making short-term plans (action planning)
decide what you will do this week (should be something you would want to do)
make sure your plan is behavior specific (”I will go for a walk” rather than “I’ll get more exercise”)
make a specific plan
exactly what are you going to do?
how much will you do?
when will you do it? (before lunch? after dinner?)
how often will you do it?
how confident are you that you can achieve it this week? If you are less than 70% sure you can accomplish your goal, re-write it until you are sure you can do it.
At the end of the week, check your results. Did you accomplish your goal? What made it difficult if you didn’t accomplish it? If you had a problem, it is time to work on problem solving the goal.
Problem Solving - making changes to your action plan
identify the problem - often the hardest part!
list ideas to solve the problem
select one method to try
substitute another idea if the first didn’t work
utilize other resources (talk to people, get feedback)
accept that the problem may not be solvable now
Don’t wait for accomplishing the big goals to reward yourself, reward yourself often. For example, you might decide that you won’t read the paper (or your email) until you’ve exercised and then reading the paper becomes a daily reward. I think we skipped this part in the Stanford program but it’s an important piece - especially when you’re trying to learn a new healthy habit! Rewards don’t have to be big or expensive or fattening. Be creative!