Ahhh the good ol' New Years Resolution. It's like they're MEANT for breaking! Am I right?!
If you're reading this and claim you've never broken one, you're a liar.
Is it us or is it them?! Chances are it's actually THEM! The problem with New Years Resolutions is they leave little room for error and tend to focus on long-term results, which means as soon as the first hiccup comes about (and it will!), you see how much further you still have to go and instantly feel like quitting. What't the use, right?! They also tend to focus on vague superficial goals, like "I am going to look good in that bikini by June!" which also means that with the first hiccup, it's that much EASIER to quit.
This year let's do things differently. The key to making that resolution stick all relies on changing your thinking. Here's how:
1) Make the actual goal the FEELING that comes with reaching it.
Human beings are motivated by emotions more than anything else on this planet. Emotions bring DEPTH to our lives, and they also bring MEANING to our goals. When things get hard, sure you might have a moment you want to quit (emotional beings, remember!?)! But you'll bounce back a lot faster because emotions have a way of pulling us back in. In the words of Noah in The Notebook, "It wasn't over...it still isn't over!"
Focusing on a FEELING is also a lot more empowering than focusing on a RESULT. It doesn't make us feel like a failure because we haven't met it yet. Focusing on a feeling doesn't make us feel like we are punishing ourselves for our mistakes the whole way there. Focusing on a FEELING brings energy and life to a goal. It turns a negative into a positive, and serves as much more authentic motivation for when things get hard.
So next time you set a New Years fitness goal, ask yourself, "how would that make me feel and why do I want that?"
2) Instead of focusing on a specific long-term goal, focus on mini-milestones that will be part of your training.
Like that old relationship from college, once the initial excitement of a goal has worn off, that's where the real work starts. Having overly long-term goals like "losing 30 lbs. in 6 months" can seem either a) daunting and like you'll never reach it or b) like you have all the time in the world so why try so hard now?
We need tangible targets that exist in the near future, each one serving as a new match to ignite our motivational flame. It's great to have a big goal! But break it down into mini-milestones that build on each other, and do that by marking them in the calendar with something to push you. If you're goal is to lose 30 lbs., maybe at 15 lbs. you reward yourself with some new head-shots you've booked. Then at 30 lbs. you go for the full body shot shoot! If you're goal is to run a half marathon, sign up for a 5k and a 10k race between now and then (in that order of course).
Get specific with these milestones, and push yourself ALONG the way to the goal, not just to the goal alone. This will help you measure growth as well as increase confidence in your abilities. It won't be just about the goal anymore, but what happens on the way to the goal!
3) Resolute to change your lifestyle and your thinking instead of your body.
When we motivate ourselves with thoughts like "I am so fat, if I don't fit into that bathing suit by June, I'm cancelling my vacation", we immediately set ourselves up for failure. This thought pattern is equivalent to being in a verbally abusive relationship. After a while, we'd WANT OUT! It's TOXIC! Toxic thoughts create self-deprecating beliefs. It makes us feel like failures with every step.
As soon as we fall just a little off-track or have that moment of weakness, we fall into tail-spin of "I suck! I should just give up...ugh! I am going to numb my emotions with that leftover cake tonight!" And it's down hill from there. Negativity breeds more negativity. We never measure up. We don't really believe we can achieve the goal. If we wouldn't allow others manipulate us like this, why do we do it to ourselves?!
Instead of coming from a place of self-hate, devote yourself to coming from a place of self-love!
Think instead, "I resolute to make decisions out of respect for my body and in support of building a healthy lifestyle". This type of dialogue stimulates happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine in the body. We believe in ourselves more when we speak words of CAPABILITY, even if we didn't believe it before we said it. Speaking positive words changes the frequency from which we operate on, and thus our vibration everywhere we go. High-frequency thoughts tend to generate high-frequency actions.
While the journey to the goal may not be easy, you will feel a lot less resistance along the way when you put emphasis on the value you're trying to ADD as opposed to what your're trying to FIX.
You can't go your whole life hating yourself into a certain shape. You'll never be at peace. Change your lifestyle, change your thinking, and make sure both SUPPORT and DEFEND the goal you're chasing.