Have you caved in on your 2018 New Year’s resolutions yet? Or, did you not bother to set any?
If you’ve bailed on them, you are not alone. By January 8, research shows that 25 percent of people have abandoned their resolution and by the end of the year, only 10 percent are still committed.
Why bother setting goals at all, then? If you are someone who shies away from setting goals, you have a tendency to set too many at the same time, or you become overwhelmed by the enormity of the goal, this post is for you. (It takes one to know one.)
A friend recommended that I read Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. The book is jam packed with insights, anecdotes and practical applications designed to help people become high performers. His work is backed by extensive research. I’ve listened to the audiobook all the way through and am listening to it again.
Here’s what happened.
I got excited about every single idea he talked about. I though about how I could apply it in my life. Then I’d listen to the next chapter and gather more ideas, meanwhile losing track of the previous ideas. Every chapter, I thought, “This is great. I should do this. And this. And this.”
How many exercises and practices have I tried? A handful.
How many have lasted and been applied consistently? 0.
I have the excitement, interest and motivation. I have a handy resource.
So why was my follow-through so … low-performing?
My approach to goal setting in the past has been counterproductive. It pretty much guarantees that I will become overwhelmed. I have a neverending list of what I should do to improve myself and my life. As long as I am alive, there will ALWAYS be a list.
Yet, I have approached self-improvement and goal setting like this: If I could do these 10-20-50 things to improve myself, then I could finally relax. I’d have everything dialed in and I wouldn’t have to work so hard at self-improvement anymore. I’d be “fixed.”
I have been living my life with the belief that if I just try harder, I’ll finally be “done” improving myself. As if I am a special version of human who will one day be perfect and—only then—I can rest. It’s comical, right?
This probably explains why I’m so impatient. And tired. I just want my brain to stop.
My tendency to try too many things at once and to expect that perfection is possible and I’m just failing at it is exactly what thing sabotages me. I get overwhelmed, exhausted and I give up.
So I’m trying a new approach.
Rather than trying to swallow, digest and implement everything in Burchard’s book, I chose the first high-performance habit, CLARITY. Or, as he says, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”
I applied the principle of clarity to the month of December. My goal: Lose 2 pounds. It meets all those SMART requirements, specific, measureable, achievable, results-oriented and time sensitive.
While it was a very small goal, it was a monumental step in the right direction.
I felt motivated! I thought, “I can totally do this,” instead of setting a big goal of losing 50 pounds, which made me think, “OMG, this is going to take forever. Why bother?”
Choosing one teeny-tiny goal re-oriented my perspective on everything.
It meant that I did not use the excuse, “It’s the holidays,” to overindulge.
It meant that I committed to going to Boot Camp three times/week. Not five days. Three. This is critical. Instead of expecting myself to drag myself out of bed five mornings a week, I took a more reasonable approach: Some Boot Camp is better than no Boot Camp. And, because my goal was to lose 2 pounds (not 10), three days would help me lose the weight but also allow me to sleep in two days/week.
It meant I also started planning meals and cooking on Sundays for the upcoming week. I decided what to make. I made a grocery list. I didn’t put off going to the grocery store.
I lost the two pounds and kept it off. And I’m continuing to lose weight. Slowly.
But that’s not all. That two-pound commitment has had a ripple effect in surprising ways across all aspects of my life.
Improved Health and Wellbeing? Check.
I made it to Boot Camp consistently, and because I went consistently, I started to feel more like myself; I started to feel like an athlete again. I love the hard workouts (well, when they are over I love them). Not only do I feel better physically, but I feel better mentally. I feel more confident. I sleep better. And some of that negative brain chatter has died down.
Improved Social Life? Check.
I’ve met other people in the class. We’ve started to meet for coffee on Fridays, and we even met for a yoga class last Sunday. I’m developing healthy habits and I’ve made new friends!
Improved Finances? Check.
Because I’ve been planning my meals and eating at home, I’m saving money.
Improved Career Clarity and Satisfaction? Check.
This is the one that really blows my mind.
Because I went to Boot Camp, I learned that the instructor made a dramatic career shift from being a marketing guru to a personal trainer. So then I got this brilliant idea to interview him and write about how he made that change. (That post will come out next week.)
Which then led to clarity about who I want to serve and how. I want to gather as many of these dramatic career change stories as I can and write about them here. I want to show people what’s possible; that ordinary people are making career changes and finding happiness and fulfillment. Plus, it will let more people know what great guy he is, and maybe bring some business his way. He wins. I win. Anyone reading my blog wins.
Because of one little goal, I’ve found clarity for my business, and I’ve been trying to do that for three years.
If you have trouble setting goals and meeting them, let’s talk. Life is too short to waste. Email me to set up a free consultation. I can help in only 30 minutes on the phone or over coffee. Did I mention it’s free?