It's 2 weeks into the year, and have you kept your New Year's Resolutions? If not, keep reading!
I freaking love New Year’s.
Is it because of the late-night parties? - You kidding me, any Westcoast mom will tell ya they’re lucky to celebrate with New York – if you don’t know by now, moms don’t function well without their sleep.
Perhaps the midnight kiss – woo-woo!? - If I was lucky enough to have a gorgeous guy, okay, maybe 😉. Currently, I relish any slobbery wet dog nose that makes its way to my cheek as a kiss.
No, none of these are why New Year’s rocks. - Then why?
Goals! I love setting goals for the New Year! I love making lists. I love checking them off. I love feeling accomplished.
But before you get any crazy notions that I actually keep my goals beyond Jan 20th, I will inform you that I do not. I’m like the rest of you - the other 97% of people who fail before reaching the red ribbon finish line of the next year. (*this percentage is not backed by science 😆 but I’m sure it’s on the low end.)
But... I keep trying. I keep setting. I keep hoping. I keep going to the gym for a solid 8.5 days before a more pressing matter intrudes (usually to get ice cream at the grocery store) and say, “I’ll go tomorrow”. As we know, tomorrow never comes…
So why do we try? Why do we keep thinking it will work this time? Why do we keep hoping? Why do we keep setting goals that in the back of our minds we know most likely will dissolve us into a puddle of emotional hopelessness and inadequacy on our bathroom floor, within 4 weeks?
The answer is that it’s in our genes. Literally. It’s in our spiritual DNA. We were born to become more than we are; to grow, to learn, and to improve ourselves. We can’t help but want to become better than our current state. Just as children strive to become like their parents. Our spirits strive to become like our perfect loving Heavenly Parents. Deep inside, our minds know this is possible. We know we have greatness within us, waiting to be developed.
“That’s fine and dandy, but I keep failing.”
So, what if you fail over and over and over… and over again? That’s okay! You’re still trying - that’s all that matters. Believe it or not, one day it will work, and in the meantime, you are learning what does and doesn’t work for you. You are learning more about who you are and what drives you.
While creating the light bulb Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Personally, I question the validity of the quoted “10,000”. I mean, could you imagine “failing” TEN THOUSAND times???! I would have given up at 100… okay maybe more like 52). Either way, you only fail when you stop trying.
What happens when you keep trying but continue falling short of your desired goal?
Try changing your approach.
“Insanity [is] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Einstein.
Guess what?! I accomplished ONE of my 2022 goals after changing my approach.
Let me share with you what worked for me. Perhaps it will work for you!
Old Goal Setting
Goal: lose weight and get healthy
Action Plan: stick to a menu 5 days a week, go to the gym every weekday
❌: too broad, action steps to extreme
NEW GOAL SETTING
Goal: attend 100 Jiu-Jitsu classes
Action Plan: see above: the plan is built into the goal.
✅: small & measurable, broad time frame
FOCUS ON SMALL MEASURABLE ACTIONS WITH A BROAD TIMEFRAME
Focus on actions, not outcomes.
Let go of your expectations of results and grand goals. Focus only on the measurable actions which are part of that larger goal, you just let go. By doing this you free yourself from the need to meet an expectation that may be out of your control, and rather find joy in accomplishing the journey.
Letting go of the desire to lose weight and get healthy, and instead focusing on a measurable action helps you succeed. If you lost weight – bonus! – it’s a natural outcome. If you didn’t, but still attended 100 classes, be proud of the accomplishment in your journey.
Broad time frames give freedom.
It’s important not to set super specific actions such as “attend 3 classes a week”. If you miss a class one week, chances are you’ll beat yourself up and swan dive off the bandwagon. Having it spread out, accounts for weekends, holidays, vacations, illness, and days you just don’t want to go. It gives you the freedom to attend 2 classes a day with the knowledge you will be on vacation the following week. It provides you with a lot of lateral movement to accomplish your goal.
Ridiculously small goals are key.
Too often we set wonderful goals yet beat ourselves up when we see a lack of progress. The thought of setting a ridiculously small goal is out of the question. Why would I do that? That’s lame!
But I promise you, if you can shift your mindset and accept ridiculously small steps, it will make all the difference.
8 months into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I almost gave up. Extremely angry with my inability to retain a remembrance of the moves we just learned, let alone use them on someone, my coach suggested idiotically small moves. Rather than trying any actual moves, practice breaking grips (when your partner is gripping your collar or sleeve). I thought, “What?!? I should be doing more than that! That’s ridiculous. He’s wrong.” But guess what? He was right. As I practiced the minuscule task of breaking grips (even allowing myself to be put into poor positions in order to practice) I found confidence as I was able to break a grip here or there. Over time I was able to at least start remembering moves and I have hope one day I will be able to pin/submit someone.
Bonus – Make your focus positive
Words matter so make them count. Many times, we say, “I will stop eating sugar”. When we make our goals about something to STOP we are mentally thinking we are being deprived and kick against it. Our actions always follow our thinking. Reframe your goals to a positive outlook. “I will have 1 extra serving of veggies per week. I will have dessert on occasions that are meaningful, and I will relish each bite.”
Here are some incredible resources:
📄 S.M.A.R.T. Goals
A great outline to follow when setting goals.
📖 Atomic Habits written by James Clear
James explains how adding little steps to our current daily routines helps us to become 1% better.
📖 Deep Work written by Cal Newport
Cal discusses how putting distractions aside helps us accomplish tasks quicker and more effectively.
Andy Frisella discusses focusing on small measurable actions and allowing the natural outcome to follow.
“Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven will be cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” (Jeffery R. Holland)
As will I.
❔ I WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOUR 2023 GOALS ARE ❔
New Hound Life