It’s the middle of January 2016 …
How are you doing on those New Years resolutions? Has your willpower let you down?
Lets face the facts … until you make a real decision and commitment to change its not that easy at all. There is more to reaching your goals than willpower alone. Whether your goal is to spend less time on social media, get your finances under control, lose weight, quit smoking , study more or become a better person, willpower is only one component in successfully achieving your goals.
I don’t set New Years resolutions but I do have goals that I want to achieve this year and I want to continue to grow as a person.
One of my immediate, more conventional goals for this year, is to get my health and fitness back on track. I’ve always been active and conscious of my fitness and health but I have dropped the ball last year and have allowed myself to become derailed … its time to get back into shape!
I am a work in progress, always working on becoming a better version of myself. This year I am focussing on the positive, the beautiful moments in my life and not the painful things. Too often do we zoom in on the negative experiences in our lives and overlook the good.
A friend of mine shared the following on Twitter more than two years ago and it has remained with me ever since.
Something that I have been working on for a while and which I want to continue with is to deepen my commitment to love and kindness and to continue to work on not taking anything personally.
Is there a more profound expression of love than paying attention? Is there anything that shows more love than simply being there, in the moment, offering mindful attention … real listening. I am making a real effort this year to become a better at listening with undivided attention.
So apart from willpower, what is needed to achieve your goals?
Firstly you need to make a firm decision to change and set clear goals. When someone else has to stand behind you, you have not made a firm decision to change and you do not own your goals. You have to be in charge and take control of your goals.
I will use my weight loss goal as an example here. I am going to get fit, toned and healthy by exercising for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 days per week. I will lose at least 10kg’s before the end of May 2016 because I have the nutritional and weight loss tools and knowledge required to achieve this. I have made a firm decision and I will make it happen.
Secondly, make sure you understand why you want the change. What is your motivation and desired outcome. I simply want to be a healthy, happy and active 47 year old, who looks great, enjoys life and have loads of energy to play with my granddaughter! That alone is enough motivation for me.
Thirdly, monitor your actions towards achieving your goal. Daily deliberate action is required. I keep a diary of everything I do towards achieving my goals. It’s just a way of staying focussed until I have replaced my current bad habits with good ones and a new lifestyle. Changing habits take time so I will monitor my actions very closely for the next three months.
Once you have all of the above in place, willpower is the next step. What is willpower? Determination, drive, resolve, self-discipline, self-control ?
I found a definition which best describes willpower as I see it: “A conscious, effortful regulation of the self by the self.” Someone else can’t do it for you … willpower comes from within.
There is another step in the process … being accountable. I believe that if you are serious about achieving your goals, you should share them with someone and be accountable first to yourself and then to someone else. Putting your goal out there keeps you on your toes and you are less likely to give up if you have shared your goal with others. Just imagine if I gave up on my weight loss goal, after publicly sharing it with all of you.
Start from here, your past is not your future … how about giving yourself another chance in January or February this year. Its much better than waiting till 1 January 2017 to set New Years resolutions again …
Happy New Year and may 2016 be your best year yet !
Life is Love