As we enter into this new year, many of us will reflect back on our lives and set new goals. It's time to make our so-called New Year's Resolutions! We all have areas in which we feel we could do better, and a New Year is always a great time to make a turning point.
In the Cambridge dictionary, resolution is described as:
“a promise to yourself to do or not do something, determination or the act of solving or ending a problem or difficulty.”
It’s always very easy to set new goals. Some people write them down, others share them with family and friends, while others hold them quietly to themselves. However, many find after a couple of weeks that they fall to the wayside, and end up back on the list as the next year rings in!
Why is it so difficult for people to follow through?
The truth of the matter is that you can achieve your goals with practice and persistence. You have already proved this to yourself in so many ways. Each day you have habits that are deeply ingrained in you. They have become who you are and what you do. Let’s take a moment to see a few examples.
You wake up in the morning and make your coffee, read the newspaper, get dressed, take your dog out and then drive off to work. You drive the same route, have the same lunch time routine, finish work, stop by the store, go home and make dinner and so on. You have developed a sequence of patterns that you have practiced so many times, that you do them without having to think about it. It has become effortless.
Technically speaking, you developed neural pathways in your brain. Most people however, will not stick to a goal long enough to develop a new pattern. They may be just at the point to succeed, and quit right as they are getting so close.
Would you like to set yourself up for Success?
When you set your goal, get as clear and specific that you can. Take time to drill it down. For example; “I want to lose weight,” has no clear path to accomplishing this. A better goal would be, "I am going to lose weight by tracking my calories in the My Fitness Pal app each day. I will follow the recommended calories and fitness guidelines. I will shop each weekend to pre-plan my meals and I will ask a friend who would like to do this with me so we have accountability and support. Additionally, I will begin working with a trainer to help get me into a consistent workout routine." This is a very clear and specific goal where I can measure my progress.
Know Your Whys
In the book, Start With Why by Simon Shek, people’s “whys'' usually go 7 - 10 levels deeper than what they initially think. One might say, “I want to lose weight,” and when asked why, they may respond “to fit better in my clothes.” When asked again they may say, “I want to feel healthier,” and when asked again, they may say, “I am worried that as I age, I will end up with health issues.” This can really go quite deep. When people fully understand the “whys” and do this inner work, they set themselves up for success. It’s important to always keep your why as a focal point.
We have all heard the saying that we become like the top 5 people we spend the most time with. Seek out people who either have similar goals as you, or people who have been successful at what you’d like to accomplish. Share your goals with them and ask them for help. It may feel vulnerable to ask for help, but often to the one helping it’s a compliment that you asked. Having accountability will help you stick to it.
Stick To It
The human brain is amazing! You can form and develop new habits anytime. Just like your common daily routine, you can do this with anything you want to succeed at. Just stick to it and if you mess up, start again! You can start over as many times as you need, just don't give up! Each time you begin again, your brain is growing. Give it a chance and you’ll be amazed at what you are truly capable of!
In closing, you have a brand new year that lies ahead. You can dream as big as you like. Today you get to choose from the entire menu of health and fitness. Everyone of us already has what it takes to succeed, you just need to reach in and get it!