Do you remember your best-ever New Year’s Resolution? The one you wrote out and the one you stuck to and that stayed with you for the rest of your life because it was so brilliant?
If you do have an answer to this question, you are certainly the minority. If at all, most people create their New Year’s resolutions, only to break them by around March or earlier. Many don’t even remember them come June, let alone take the time to reflect on them by the end of the year.
Why is that?
Because many “resolutions” are externally driven, for example, weight loss, getting fitter, getting more organised, taking more time for myself.
All of the above are amazing goals, but you won’t be doing any of them unless you have a clear WHY!
Without your WHY, you will never find out the HOW and you are guaranteed to lose sight of it very quickly, regardless of how important it seemed to be when you wrote down the resolution.
When I start working with my clients, I ask them “why do you want to make changes?” “Why do you want to address your health now”. And the question often startles them and they struggle with an answer. “Well, because I want to be healthier” might come eventually. Or “Because, I’m fed up with my weight”
But then I try to dig deeper, and we try to find out what being in good health really means to them. Or what it means to be a few stones lighter, what life will look like, what they can do that they can’t do at the moment, etc.
If you are not able to stick to your resolutions, your goals, or your intentions, or whatever you want to call it – it is simply because you are not clear about WHY you want to do them.
If something is REALLY important to you, if you REALLY want to achieve it, if it REALLY means that it will have a big impact on your life – then you will find ways and means to achieve the goal.
So, what can you do differently this year?
Identify only those things that are REALLY important to you and write down a WHY. If you can’t find a WHY, check, how important is it really to you? Are you willing to invest time and effort?
For example: For years and years, I’ve been saying that I want to get my handicap in golf down, and every year I set myself a goal of what handicap I’m aiming for. But then, I don’t go out and practice or take lessons. Looking closer at it though, I found out, that what’s way more important to me, is to play well, to be out in the fresh air, to be with friends. Having a lower handicap doesn’t really affect my life. Yeah, it would be nice, but… I can’t really find a good WHY. For others, though, it might mean recognition from fellow golfers, it might mean a major achievement, it might mean being able to compete in competitions on other courses. There is no right or wrong! What is important to one person, might not be important to someone else.
One of my clients main driving points to lose weight was that he didn’t want to buy new shirts and he hated it when the buttons become too tight. That’s when he was at his highest motivation, and it was easy for him to stick to all recommendations.
Write it down, make it real and tell everyone!
The next important point is to make it real, and simply writing it down somewhere, ideally visible to see every day, is the first step to make it real. Then tell everyone you know, especially those around you who are supportive friends. Some people will try to talk you out of it, often under the pretence of meaning well.
For example, when I told everyone that I want to run 50k on my 50th birthday, I got lots of people telling me to be careful with my joints at my age and running on the road, etc etc. I am so glad, I didn’t listen. I am still so glad to those people who straight away said: “That’s a brilliant idea, go for it”. I had the best ever birthday! While this wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, it was a goal I set myself around April, and I did it the following year in January.
BTW, to mark this event which was 9 years ago, by walking most of that same route again this January, by doing the Bray Camino on 21st January. If you like to join in, let me know!
“Commitment is doing what you said you would long after the mood you said it has left”
Sometimes, we know our “why” and we do write it down and have great plans. We start out great and things are going well, but then something happens, and we lose focus. Often, it’s when things are getting a bit more difficult or when we don’t see the effort we’re putting in, paying off quick enough.
We suddenly tell ourselves things like:
“A sure, it doesn’t really matter that I can’t get my handicap down” “A sure, I will just buy new shirts, at my age, it’s probably ok to carry a bit of extra weight”
“I’m never going to get a PB (personal best) anymore anyway”
“If my husband and friends don’t like me with the extra weight, they’re not important to me anyway”
“It doesn’t matter whether I climb Croagh Patrick or not, it’s probably not meant to be”
“Who really cares whether I ran 50k or not?”
We probably will tell ourselves for a while that there’s no point anyway, and we will feel ok with it. But if your initial reason to achieve whatever it was, was actually strong and important to you – you will at some stage feel frustrated and disappointed in yourself.
Making whatever your goal is an intention and giving it full commitment, is therefore absolutely crucial.
So, after you have written down your goals, after you have written down your WHY, write down HOW you will commit. What will you do every single day? Where do you want to be in a week’s time, in a month’s time, in 3 months, or in one year? Break it down into small steps that you CAN commit to every single day.
If it’s too much, you are very likely to give up quicker.
Set yourself a few hours’ time NOW.
How do you want your life to look by the end of 2023? What will you have achieved?
Set yourself an intention every single day you wake up. Your whole life will become a life of purpose and intention and be much more fulfilled. Even if you don’t achieve your initial goal.
You might say “But what’s the point in having a goal if you don’t worry about whether you are going to achieve it or not?”
That’s how I thought for many years and I didn’t set any goals anymore, because I found it more frustrating when I didn’t achieve something.
However, looking back, I realised
a) either that the goal really wasn’t that important to me to begin with
b) the process and the intent of getting up in the morning with a purpose were more important than the actual goal itself.
For example, let’s say my goal is to walk 3000 km this year. That would be just around 10.000 steps every single day of the year. I know I can do it, but it’s a challenge as there are days that I don’t, and it means I’ll have to make up on other days. This gives me an intention, a plan, a structure, a purpose for every single day. I will enjoy each walk as it has a bigger goal. I will encourage others to join in. I will share this goal and will motivate others. This gives it an even more important purpose. And it will give me joy when others say I’ve inspired them and that they feel so much better. I will change my one-to-one client consultations to “walking consultations”, therefore enhancing the experience of working with me. This will set me apart from other Nutritional Therapist, and I might get more clients. Can you see, how a simple goal can overall bring more joy to every day? So, by the end of the year, even if I didn’t quite reach the 3000 km, it means, I enjoyed the process.
Life is simply better with goals, intentions, and resolutions in mind.
I hope this all makes sense to you. I’d love to hear from you and what your goals are and your WHY, and what you intend to do, what you are going to commit to in 2023.