Are you ready with your New Year Resolutions?
It is getting near that time when suddenly you find yourself on New Year’s Eve thinking, “Oh, so what shall I do next year?’.
Out of thin air, New Year’s Resolutions are plucked. Some of them might be perennial themes, some might be spur of the moment. Some you might have been saving up for New Year’s Eve.
I am going to lose weight. From now on I am only going to eat healthy food.
I am going to stop drinking in January.
I am going to stop smoking.
2018 – this year I am going to crush it – bring it on.
I am going to get fit, I am going to go to the gym five times a week for at least an hour.
At Health Clubs around the world, eager young trainers are salivating, clipboard in hand ready for the endless stream of January sign-ups.
By the end of January reality has hit home. More than 50% of resolutions have already been forgotten. Health-related resolutions barely make it past the middle of January.
By the end of the year if you are lucky, one in eight of you reading this will have achieved something that you set out to do on that fateful New Year’s Eve.
Resolutions have two problems.
Resolutions are often linked to BIG GOALS – coaches shout from the rooftops, “SET BIG GOALS!!!”.
BIG GOALS rarely work, again and again, and again.
BIG GOALS are hard to relate to, BIG GOALS create frustration, disillusionment and a daily sense of failure.
I am going to lose weight – even putting on a pound or two can create a sense of failure.
From now on I am only going to eat healthy food – until the first time you eat unhealthy food.
I am going to stop drinking – until you have your first drink.
I am going to stop smoking – when you focus on stopping smoking do you notice how you think of cigarettes all the time.
I am joining a gym – how often will you actually go?
Three years ago, I started the year with an intention of being healthier. I did not set any big goals, I did not set any outcomes.
At the end of the year, I was over forty pounds (nearly 20kgs) lighter and I had cycled over 4,500 miles mostly at pace. In the previous year, I had probably cycled about 200 miles. Slowly.
I am very confident that if I had set these as goals they would have felt overwhelming. Too big to handle. And any backward step would have made them feel even more unattainable. Some people can set these big goals and achieve them, and it takes extraordinary focus and willpower.
What if their attainment could come more easily?
Having decided that I wanted to be healthier I set myself two very simple outcomes.
“Anytime I eat, I will choose to eat a little bit healthier”.
“Anytime I have a bike available I will choose to go for a ride”.
What makes these simple statements SO powerful?
First of all, it is ANYTIME not EVERY-TIME. When it every-time, then as soon as I don’t I have failed. When it is anytime, it means that every time I eat I can win.
Secondly, I have added in the idea of choosing. This means that it is down to me. I know I am consciously making a choice.
And with these two simple statements, I gained a lot of lightness and a lot of health. I am healthier and lighter now, three years later, than I have been in over twenty years.
Over to you
So how do you set yourself up for 2018?
These are some of my favourite questions that I like to ask myself to set myself up. They are all about identity and direction. Who am I and where do I want to travel?
Looking back what is the one word captures the spirit of the past year?
What is the one decision that could change everything for me in 2018?
Who am I becoming in 2018?
Let’s leave the resolutions to the UN and set out a roadmap for 2018 that could change everything for you.
I look forward to hearing from you and how you get on.