Whether it’s losing weight or running a marathon, a 10K, or staying fit, some of us won’t complete our resolutions. Statistics show that many fail within the first month of trying. So what happens to us that we get so frustrated and just want to give up?
Why does the New Year Day motivation run out of steam? What gets us to the point of thinking everything is futile? First comes shame, then guilt, which results in auto -pilot eating or grazing which paralyzes our drive to inaction.
Misery loves company and sometimes a doughnut, doesn’t it? Before you know it, more time has crept by and another broken promise and poor choice has stole your hope of accomplishing the resolution you were longing to achieve. People tend to give into failure. The problem with this defeatist attitude is that your expectations were too high and they were met quickly with disappointment. Also, resolutions tend to be fly-by-night, where as intentional plans become reality. Plans to reach a goal are laid out into to phases or one small goal at a time. It’s intentional daily action that gets you to your destination.
No one loses 20 pounds overnight or runs a marathon after one day of training. You have to give yourself a chance to succeed. You have to give yourself a reason to make those intentional action steps over and over and over. You must dig deep and know why you must reach your goal.
The key to success is to practice daily disciplines. Practice what works for you and don’t compare the outcome to others. Measure the process, not the outcome.
The cure to any unhealthy habit shows up in the process!
Instead of saying you want to lose 20 pounds, what if you just decided to exercise everyday, no matter what? Even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. You might not shed a ton of weight at once, but if you kept up the habit, you’d start seeing the results you desired – eventually.
Or instead of weighing every day and letting your self-esteem rise and fall with the numbers, just put it aside for now and pay attention to how your jeans fit will better and your muffin top will soon disappear – eventually.
Focus on how you feel and measurements versus your actual weight on the scale.
How about going through your closet and purging those clothes that continually tease you saying, “you will never wear me.” Honestly, when you get down to that size again should you be wearing that mini-skirt? It’s nice to have incentive, but make it realistic and age appropriate.
There are two operative words here: Practice and eventually.
The typical goal-setting mindset tends to focus on the outcome with little to no regard for the process it takes to get there. It’s like saying that you want to run the Boston Marathon but you forget the months of the agonizing training and trials that you have to complete to get there. Long-term commitment will bring the results you want to see. I promise!
The 20-mile march
In his book Great by Choice, author Jim Collins tells the stories of two explorers wanting to be the first to visit the South Pole. One plans on everything going more or less according to his expectations, and when things don’t, it sets him back. The other, however, decides to march 20 miles every day, no matter what.
The first explorer blames everything, even the weather, but himself for his failure. He and his team do, in fact, reach the South Pole, but sadly they all die on the return voyage home. The second explorer not only succeeds in reaching Antarctica first, but he lives to tell the tale.
There’s a lot to be learned from this approach in how we set and achieve goals. Don’t set over-ambitious goals or unrealistic targets. Instead, map out what you want to accomplish and what it will take to get there. Add consistency to your schedule and practice what works. Again…what matters is the process, the practice and the hope of getting to your goal — eventually.
Practice, patience, practice:
A few additional “must haves” for success…
- Right attitude: “I am doing something positive for myself today”
- Right process (for you): “Here’s what I will do everyday”
- Scheduled time: eventually you will achieve your goals if you stick with it! Make YOU an important appointment on your calendar daily. NO EXCUSES!
When you don’t see the results you want, you either need to change your attitude, the process, or give yourself another chance to practice what works. There are a lot of things in this world you can’t control, but you can control your positive choices. And change comes in the process along the way of practice and consistency.
Oh…and don’t forget to celebrate small victories along the way, even if it’s only one pound or one fourth of a mile. Each step forward is progress! Celebrate the journey.