This time of year, we focus usually pick a resolution that revolves around improving our health in one way shape or form.
“I want to lose weight”
“I want to quit smoking.”
“I want to eat healthier.”
Do you want to know why these resolutions never work?
They are not definitive enough!
In fact they define NOTHING!
I fall into the same trap everyone else does…I make excuses that sound great at the time, but come back to haunt me later. I shrug it off as not being that important, but then I get pissed about not doing anything about it. I forget what it feels like to work for something. I neglect what feeds my soul.
Sound familiar? Yeah…I thought so.
About five years ago, I was called out. By someone I didn’t know very well at the time either. As this was happening, I was telling myself things to do next and I never did any of them. But, it was the best thing she ever could have done for me. In previous posts, I have shared how I started running in the morning to lose weight and like you, I had the biggest obstacle to overcome before I could take a single step.
Why was it the best thing? Because she made me be accountable — not to her, but to myself.
With a heavy sigh and honesty written all over my face, I had to admit that I didn’t like where I was. That is hard. For all of us. To confess that we could be better but aren’t. To introduce others to a weakness we had desperately tried to hide. Because with that shame came guilt — a constant self-badgering of inadequacy and unfulfillment.
But hiding from it wasn’t changing where I was. Same place, different day. It got old. And it was something I carried with me, no matter how hard I tried to pretend it wasn’t there. For someone who grew up playing sports since I was five years old into my college years, with an athletic family, I was cheat myself into a lie. A lie I didn’t want to live anymore. Now, some days, I am embarrassed about it, but I know I cannot change it.
Like many of you, I wanted something different, but wasn’t willing to work very hard for it. This reasoning is not something unique to us, regardless of what we want. That is irrelevant. What IS relevant is why we don’t follow through…why we quit. And, again, those answers are not something that only pertains to you or me…it pertains to ALL of us.
So now that I have just called you out, what’s next? How do I keep this promise?
Go back to the basics.
It isn’t complicated.
Do you remember when we were just learning how to write stories in elementary school and the teacher would use six simple words that would get us started? Of course you do!
These seven words are THE key to achieving any goal in your life:
WHO: Identify who this goal is about. Chances are it is you. You may also need to included others who you will need to help you, for a variety of reasons (accountability, resources, advice, etc).
WHAT: Identify what you are trying to achieve. If it is weight related, be specific in the number of pounds lost, the number of cigarettes you smoke, or the number of calories you consume.
WHY: Identify the reason. Reaching this goal matters to you…write down why. You want to feel better about yourself, you need to lower some cholesterol numbers, or you just know it needs to get done.
WHERE: Identify the location. Maybe it is your local gym, walking on the track at your daughter’s dance lessons, or just running through your neighborhood (my personal favorite).
WHEN: Identify a time. You MUST commit to and dedicate the time. Without this, nothing else matters. You can have everything else set up, but you will never achieve anything if you don’t allocate the minutes/hours to be successful.
HOW: Identify any and ALL resources needed to achieve this goal. Will you need to buy a new cookbook? Get some new running shoes? Throw out all cigarettes in your house?
And the MOST important thing that EVERY goal must have…
Remember – these words do not solely work for goals related to health changes…they apply to ANY goal.
As we 2015 stares us right in the face, we know we have things we want to do…people we want to meet…places we want to go. But it will not happen just because we want it to — it will happen because we work for it. My original weight lost goal five years ago began with a quest to lose 20 pounds within six months just by running and I was able to lose 31. And there were days that I wanted to quit and could make any excuse to sleep in instead of getting up at 4:30am. But when you commit to a goal that means something to you, then no excuse is good enough. And you will know how much it matters to you by how much time you commit to it. Time is the key to everything changing.
Go buy yourself an inexpensive journal and write a goal at the top of each page. Fill in the left side with your seven words. Leave enough room to make some comments if you want. Keep track of your progress. Seeing it will help you keep going. It can be very frustrating to be working hard and never see any results. (Again, not something unique to just you.) Find things that constantly remind you of why you started. Pictures are very powerful when it comes to goal setting – no matter the goal. Even go so far as to create a vision board if you choose. Every time you want to quit, go stare at what got you started in the first place. Read something inspiring. Those few moments will “right the ship” and you will again understand why you began.
Stop putting off what you have wanted to do for days or years. Recommit and promise yourself to really work at what you want. Be patient with allowing progress to take time. Use what you have. Love the journey. Don’t cheat yourself out of glory and feeling triumphant because you are afraid of failing. Give this goal everything (I said, EVERYTHING) you have. Right now. It starts today.
Michelle A. Homme © 2015