Anything You Want: Simple Strategies to Make Goals Stick

Resolution. For most of us, it’s not a word that invokes a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. Instead, it’s likely one you dread hearing and even more deeply dread attempting to identify and fulfill. With 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions failing by the second week in February, it’s no wonder we’ve become so averse to the practice.

Maybe it’s time to accept the fact that we’re going about it all wrong; and there, actually, is a better way of achieving positive change in our lives—a change that sticks.

Four Pillar Focus
Assuming a total-body focus is crucial to the success of any health improvement or maintenance plan. We consistently focus on the Four Pillars—mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery—for this reason. These factors, when taken together, comprise a total-body focus. Here’s why:

1. Mindset – Before you can set a goal and begin the necessary work to achieve it, you must have a full understanding of what it requires and how to accomplish it.
2. Nutrition – Food must be seen as fuel for the body and brain. Fueling cuts through the latest diet marketing hype and focuses on the consumption of the foods that are best for our bodies.
3. Movement – There is a difference between incidental and structured movement you must understand. Both are essential for wellness, weight management, and vitality.
4. Recovery – The mind and body repair, recharge, and upgrade during rest. Recovery strategies must be employed throughout each day, week, month, and year.

Strategies to Make Them Stick
Almost any resolution with which you challenge yourself is going to be impacted by how well you are able to integrate the principles of the Four Pillars into your daily life. Following are simple strategies to help you do so:

Mindset is about dedicating yourself to a goal and understanding what it requires to accomplish it. Use these simple strategies to help maintain a positive and productive mindset throughout your journey.
+ Obstacles can be stressful while challenges build resilience. Try to see every obstacle you encounter this year as a challenge.
+ Strengthen your mind during the first 5 minutes of the morning with a positive affirmation, one-minute of focused breathing, and one glass of water.

Nutrition fuels the mind and body, providing foundational support to maximize performance. Commit to these simple strategies to help ensure you’ve got the fuel it takes to make it through your journey.
+ Save time and promote healthier dinner choices by consulting a dietitian, planning bulk meals ahead of time, shopping for ingredients (rather than processed foods), and cooking once or twice a week instead of every night.
+ Balance workday snacks with protein and fat to help you feel fuller longer, carbohydrates for energy, fiber for fullness, and water to keep you hydrated.

Movement is essential to improved performance. It’s about moving your body better. Employ these simple strategies for a great first step toward improvement.
+ Turn any time into movement time. Start by walking to the playground or park, then add in pull-ups on the monkey bars, dips, and push-ups on benches, or short sprints through a classic game of tag.
+ Commit to exercising a minimum of 20 minutes per day to improve overall health, information processing, and memory.

Recovery allows the mind and body to re-energize and prepare for your next activity. Use these simple strategies to avoid overlooking the importance of recovery along your journey.
+ Discover the art of the 20-minute power nap. You can’t make up for lost sleep, but you can recharge your battery, clear your mind, and improve creativity.
+ Make time during your workday for active recovery of your mind and body with trigger point exercises, foam rolling, or active stretching.

Next Step: Acceptance
Canadian-American psychotherapist and writer, Nathaniel Branden, said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” Awareness is half the battle. Now is the time to put these simple strategies into practice.

And, what you’ll soon realize is, with these principles as the foundation, any New Year’s resolution is within your reach.



In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center