Today my friend and wellness coach Mike is lending his masterful insight on how to make a health goal actually stick. When we first take on a new goal it can feel overwhelming and our action can stall us out. Mike’s approach to wellness is practical and therefore sustainable. I know you’ll appreciate his mindful approach to reaching your goals.
According to the History Channel, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year. So, there’s no wonder we have a deep-rooted connection with this tradition of setting a new course for our lives each year. Yet, out of the millions who set resolutions in January, studies show only 8% follow through and achieve their goals.
Why is it that we have such an abysmal success rate? Do we try to bite off more than we can chew? Is it our environments that we live in? Are we simply lacking discipline? We have all heard of the usual “write your goals down,” “make your goals realistic,” “put a deadline on when you want to achieve your goals,” etc. Today, I want to share with you two slightly different approaches that will give you some freedom to be human along the way, and make your goals seem attainable.
Give yourself GRACE
Have you ever started a weight loss program to only go to work and it seems like everyone is bringing fast food and treats to the office…and you gave in? YOU FAILURE! Have you ever set out your workout clothes to go to the gym at 5am, get up and get dressed when the alarm goes off, only to find out your car won’t start? WHAT A HUNK OF JUNK! Have you ever just felt unmotivated and said screw it on Friday night and kept the drinks pouring when you should have been at the gym or working on that new business website you’ve been meaning to build? YOU LAZY BUM! I hope you hear my sarcasm above, but all joking aside, these are typical conversations that people have with themselves after a mistake.
Guess what? If I can guarantee you one thing it is this: you are human and will screw up. You will make mistakes and start questioning yourself and your self-worth. Your journey will not be perfect. Your journey will be riddled with mind games. How you perceive these mistakes and the story you tell yourself will make an immense difference on your success or failure, and your quality of life.
Sometimes, thinking about things rationally can help with understanding grace. For instance, have you ever gone the gym one time, had a killer session, sweated your tail off, and BOOM, there was your six pack? Have you ever eaten vegetables and dry boneless skinless chicken breast all day like your trainer recommended, only to notice you still have your love handles at night? Much like no one ever got a six pack from eating one piece of fruit or vegetable, no one ever gained 20lbs by having one candy bar or one pizza. Next time you feel like a failure because you didn’t go to the gym for the third time that week like you had planned, or because you had ice cream when you had a crappy day, or maybe you didn’t call 50 prospects that week like you told your boss you would, I encourage you to keep things in perspective. Your goals will only be achieved one step at a time, and you will fall along the way, but with consistency, effort, and giving yourself grace, you will become who you have set out to be.
“We are what we REPEATEDLY do…”-Aristotle. The key word here, is repeatedly.
Visualize your preferred future
Visualization is an often-taught mental rehearsal technique in sports. It is an extremely powerful tool and numerous studies have been done to prove this. One notable study was conducted by Dr. Biasiotto at the University of Chicago, where he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make. After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making free throws. The third group did nothing. After 30 days, he tested them again.
*The first group who practiced free throws every day, improved by 24%.
*The second group who did not shoot free throws but visualized themselves shooting and making free throws improved by 23% without touching a basketball!
*The third group did not shoot free throws or visualize, and they did not improve at all.
This study shows the power of something we all have access to, visualization. Most great achievers in any field spanning across the centuries all have practiced visualizing their preferred reality. The best part is, it’s free and only takes a few minutes a day to reap the benefits.
When it comes to visualizing, there are three things that need to be included: sight, sound, and feeling. So, regarding New Year’s goals, can you truly see yourself with the body you want? When I’m on the elliptical or stretching, often I will close my eyes and picture the body I will have. The flat stomach, the flexibility, no more low-back stiffness, sleeping better, no more bags under the eyes, the confidence I will exude. You can utilize this with any goals you want to achieve in 2020. Visualize your clients loving your products and sending referrals your way! Visualize you and your family around the dinner table happy, laughing, and having great conversation! Visualize that vacation on the beach with the sun kissing your face and that margarita in your hand! I believe that if you can see yourself and FEEL what life will be like with the goal already accomplished, that not only will this energize your efforts, but you’re bringing thoughts to your consciousness that help you stay focused on your goal. It’s a win-win!
I know these two tips seem simple and are different from the status quo of other goal setting articles, but do not doubt how the small things add up over time. I have utilized these tips and tricks to help create lasting habit change for my health and wellness clients for over sixteen years. I know this will work for you who will apply them consistently, and my hope is that someone will take these tips to heart and implement them. Be the change, be the 8% who achieve their hopes and dreams that you set out on at the start of this year! Why not you? Remember, Win The Day! If you get one percent better every day, magic will happen.
Best in health,