New Year = New You!
Uh, not exactly.
For over 18 years I’ve worked in the performance enhancement industry. Most of that time has been helping athletes of all ages and abilities, and even general populations, lose unwanted weight. Regardless of who the client is, both short and long term goals must be made; and with the roll over of the calendar, what better time than now!
Actually, if you’re looking for a sure path for failure reaching your goals, start January 1st of any year! Just log on to your favorite social media site and see all your friends proclaiming the ‘new’ them in the upcoming year.
No, I’m not pessimistic. I’m a realist when it comes to human behavior. January 1st, May 7th or September 21st. Regardless of the date you pick to ‘change you’, if you’re not ready for the change, you can’t force it and expect it to stick.
Rule #1: Pick a start date for addressing your goals based on when you will be realistic about what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.
Motivational behavior of goal setting is the next sure fail for most people. We have two types of motivational strategies, extrinsic and intrinsic. When we were kids, (for some of us, that was long ago) we had motivational factors that influenced our drive to excel: trophies, medals, gold stars, stickers on helmets and yes $5 bucks for every ‘A’ on the report card.
These are all great motivational tools to aid an effort, but as we become older, there needs to be a shift on the motivational scale toward intrinsic desire. This means that the motivational drive has to be from within, and not fueled with material items or superficial gain. Making the drive pure, and based around self-betterment, will not only lead to success of the goal but will help cement habits of excellence. Remember: practice makes permanent. The choices we make quickly become habits. Every waking moment, we create habits that are either good or bad based on our actions. Choose wisely. You gotta want it.
Rule #2: Make your goals motivated from intrinsic factors instead of extrinsic.
A mentor told me long ago, when it comes to professional success the following tends to hold true: In the first year, most professionals overestimate what they can accomplish. By year 5, they underestimate what they can accomplish.
Simply put, initially, most people bite off way more than they can chew. This sets them into a downward spiral of reaching other long term goals. During all goal setting, we will have set backs. Be realistic and don’t let disappointment take you off course. One of my favorite things to tell my athletes is, “some days we are the hammer and some days we are the nail, regardless of which I am for the day, nobody should be able to tell based on my actions.”.
Rule #3: Short term goals need to set up the long term and both must be realistic.
So, before you start publicly sharing your resolutions and goals on social media, remember there is one person that needs to know your goals. You! Remind yourself of your goals every day. Make sure you are willing to sacrifice everything necessary to achieve the desired outcome. And, most importantly, avoid common goal setting mistakes. You’ll find yourself less discouraged and more likely to reach your goals.