I saw a blurb on the news the other day that mentioned something along the lines of nearly 99% of people that set out to make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year have, by this time of the year, failed to completely follow through with them, or have lost track of what those goals actually were. A sad statistic to say the least, but also a lesson in the kinds of goals people set for themselves and the phycology behind getting sidetracked. How many times have you (or people you know) gone through a scenario like this: “Well I cheated on my “diet” at lunch today so I might as well go all out on dinner tonight too… then there’s no use is starting back up tomorrow so I might as well throw this whole week away….then the month is ruined so I might as well start back up next month…”—and so on and so on. It’s a vicious cycle. I saw it all the time with clients in my personal training days, from diet to exercise, and even to sleep! It’s no wonder why 99% of people fail to follow through with goals they set for themselves merely months ago.
But what if we thought about those goals differently? What if we made it so much easier on ourselves, and motivated ourselves by simply how we thought about the problems we are trying to solve? I remember watching one of those late night talk shows around New Year’s and they did one of those bits where they go talk to people in the streets. This time they were asking them what their New Year’s resolutions were. I remember they asked one guy and he gave the absolute best response I have ever heard. He said, “Well… do more things I like to do and less things I don’t like to do, I guess.” Sounded so elementary at the time, but what a simple, yet complete way to look at it. You mean if I do more of the things I like doing and less of the things I don’t like doing I will be happier— less stressed—a better person? And no, they don’t make pills for that (different rant for a different time).
Let’s put this to practice. Like playing with your kids? Great, let’s do more of it. Chances are you’re going to need more energy to do that at the end of a long day, which means you’re going to have to make some changes to your diet, sleep, exercise, and stress levels. Like creating new things? Awesome. Chances are to do more of that you will have to spend more time reading and learning and less time plopped in front of the TV watching semi-celebrities do the tango. This list could go on and on. It’s the way in which we motivate ourselves to change that truly matters. Without the right motivation, new habits die quickly and old ones constantly keep sticking around.
Need to make a change? Sure thing.
Do more things that you like doing and less things you don’t like doing. Not sure why it has to be more complicated than that.