By Jamie Kirk
Now is the time of year that most folks are very focused, disciplined and intentional about their behavior. The time by which we grab the fat-free stuff, the gluten-free crap, and the almond milk. We also have our alarms set with the label ‘GO TO GYM.’ Each day for about the first 14 days of the year, we are deliberate in announcing our resolutions, how many times we “got it in” at the gym or maybe even made a good decision like only four drinks on Saturday night instead of our normal six. We act like there is a medal or a t-shirt for the disclosure of our plans.
We have to be very careful during this time of year not to over-extend ourselves and become resentful about the things we said we would do. Neglecting to follow through just on one of our gazillion resolutions can sometimes send us into a tailspin. That should not be the case. We need to set goals/resolutions strategically and with an end state in mind. Regardless of what the end state is, it must be rewarding enough for us to power through the days and nights that are difficult.
A few things to keep in mind and help you along the way….
- Get an accountability partner. Not a workout partner, not a business partner, not a mentor or a mentee. Choose someone that will give you grief when you slack, but not make you feel guilty. Someone that you admire and, most importantly, is aligned with your goals also. If you are trying to eat healthily, grab your accountability party to go to the store with you. They will help you and stand with you as you grab sorbet instead of a Breyers in the freezer section.
- Make yourself uncomfortable but not miserable. Make sure that your goals/resolutions will stretch you beyond your comfort zone, but not so much that you feel resentment and back-slide. An immediate example comes around drinking and partying. If your goal is to stop drinking or not go out as much, that can be overwhelming without a support group. Instead of not drinking at all, reduce the number of nights out, which should indirectly reduce the number of nights you drink. Taking baby steps is always a good thing!
- Don’t eat the elephant all in one bite. Avoid making more than three goal-oriented resolutions. Making more will be too overwhelming and might cause you to get depressed or moody because you are over-extending yourself and lacking focus. Goals/Resolutions work best when you have a strategy and a planned approach. Having more than three goal-oriented resolutions will leave you drained and out of energy. Your three need to be the ones that bubble up to the top when you think of the best way to move your life forward. You can have sub-goals, but your “big rocks” should be life-changing and easily sustainable for years to come.
- Keep quiet. There is no need to announce your plans to the world. Telling a few chosen folks that could turn out to be an accountability partner, your significant other, etc. is wise. These folks will support you and encourage you when you need it most. The challenge with telling the world is that now they have input into said plans. If you announce to anyone that will listen that you are going to travel aboard twice in 2018, the first few times they see you they will ask about your plans. This can be frustrating, especially if you are still saving or looking for a travel companion. Just keep this in mind: VSOP (Visible Signs of Progress).
- Be kind to yourself. If you have a slip-up, it’s okay. If you fall off a bit mid-year, it’s okay. If you change the course or need to adjust the resolution, it’s okay. As long as you keep the goal in mind, you can adjust how and when you get there. So, you don’t lose 10 lbs. Before May, but you did lose 8 lbs. – celebrate the victory of the 8, not the defeat of the 2. We don’t have to put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and adhere to every goal we have set. Take breathers, celebrate the small wins and realize the improvements you ARE making. Continue to focus on the outcome, not the way things are currently. You will be surprised at how much more tenacity and strength you have by manifesting what you want into existence.
- Assign a date. Give your goals/resolutions a specific (hopefully unmovable) date that is not tied to a holiday or a trip. A day, date, and time. This is when you will evaluate the good, the bad, and the ugly of your efforts. A goal/resolution without a date is a waste of time. You have to asses your efforts and know how much further you have to push yourself or when to make adjustments. Don’t let someone convince you of when you need to assign a date to your goals. You pick it. You decide. It’s our goal; you own it, ALL of it. The date will be your driver of productivity and resolve. Make the date a game. Putting big red X’s on your calendar or maybe an alarm at the end of the day that says ‘I made it one more day,’ could be an excellent way to acknowledge your efforts, while putting a big ole smile on your face.
Make sure you surround yourself with people that are encouraging you to be a better you. Sometimes we have to leave people behind; we can pick them back up after we collect our 200 bucks and pass go. But we can’t do both, we can’t move forward, with people in our lives that are envious or jealous of our wanting to be better and do better. The right relationships will make all the difference in the world in our efforts to succeed or fail. Having people that will offer to be your accountability partner is an essential key to a positive outcome. Our ability to commit and be intentional to what we “say” is important, BUT can only be believed and celebrated by our actions.
Don’t waiver. Don’t second guess. Stop putting it off. Don’t avoid. Don’t delay. Just do it. Make a plan, work the plan, plan the outcome and plan to celebrate your success. Everyone has different levels of “stick-to-it-ness” and comparing yourself to someone else’s level of effort is a very good way to become frustrated and eventually give up. The goals/resolutions have to be about you and for you ONLY. We have to continue living and looking forward by being as committed as we can. Living as purposefully as we can. Being as authentic as we can. And remembering to forgive ourselves when we don’t live up to this fantasy in our heads of a perfectly normal life.
Jamie Kirk works for a software company and is a certified spinning instructor. He also enjoys yoga, swimming, bicycling and running. He aspires to start a blog about what we put in our bodies not only fuels our body but our mind and spirit as well. Follow Jamie on IG @tysonsda