Fuck New Year’s Resolutions – Part III
In parts one and two of the fuck new year’s resolutions series we touched on some of the reasons that keep so many of us from achieveing the golas we set for ourselves. It honestly boils down to this: (1) People either grossly underestimate the amount of effort change entails or (2) People are are just not willing to do the work.
Believe us, we know better than most how hard getting (and staying) in shape is. Between our murderous work days (yes, we all have ‘real’ jobs), family commitments, chronic sleep depravation, personal projects and many injuries, we barely manage to fit our own training into our nigh unmageable schedules. We too have had to struggle against discouragement, boredom, impatience, dissatisfaction, insecurity and indiscipline.
But fear not, we have your back: in this post we have condensed years of psychological research into a simple framework that will help you begin your transformation.
You’ll remember in part one of the series that we asked you to write down three short, medium and long term goals down on a piece of paper. Take a little time and think about which goal is the most important to you and why. When you’re done follow the steps below:
- Arrange your goals in order of importance
- Spell out what specific actions you are realistically willing to commit to on a week to week basis
- Allocate the maximum number of hours you are willing to invest into your endeavors
- Rearrange your calendar accordingly
Finished? Good. That was the easy part. Now we get to talk a little more about what it means to find your why.
Let’s talk a little about motivation: the dictionary defines it as the reason(s) one has for engaging in a set of behaviors. Another way to describe motivation is by substituting the word reason for the word desire. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What desires fuel your day to day habits and behaviors?
Let’s be honest here, desire dwindles, even for us coaches. It’s not like we jump out of bed every morning and gaily skip to the gym on a cold winter morning with jubilation in our eyes and glee in our hearts. But we do it. Because it’s not the grueling workout that we desire. It’s the results: a strong body devoid of pain. An aesthetic that makes our heart swell with pride and confidence. A spring in our step as we greet strangers with confidence and zest.
So how do we keep the proverbial eye on the prize and keep on keeping on even on those days when the the tempting warmth of a king size blanket clouds our better judgment?
Place a greater emphasis on what you must do rather than on what you want and make your short term goals the focus of the journey. By breaking down your long term goals into small weekly/monthly objectives, we set yourself up for regular micro-wins that will fuel the desire to see our goal through to the end.
Let us illustrate with an example: let’s say that you you make it your goal to lose 50lbs. in the next 9-12 months and are burning with excitement to finally shed the excess chub so you can get bring sexy back once and for all.
Writing smaller, more manageable, action based goals on a week to week basis would look a little bit like this:
What specific actions can I take this week to start losing weight/fat?
- I will complete 3-4 full body workouts this week
- I will introduce two half fasts into my week to decrease my caloric intake
- I will learn how to track my macro nutrients
- I will take progress pictures and track my measurements
If life throws you an unexpected curve ball that is likely to derail your efforts for the week (hashtag Murphy’s Law), the same principle applies. Say for example that you have a bachelor party to attend Saturday night and you know that you’re in for a shit storm of alcohol and bad food (and probably a full day of post hangover bingeing): what specific actions can you take the week before/after the bachelar party to avoid setting yourself back a month?
- I will cut 300-500 calories from my daily caloric budget to make up for the excesses of the weekend
- I will save most of Saturday’s calories for the big dinner with the groom to be
- I will be mindful of how many drinks I consume and cap it at 10
- I will stick to the low calorie drinks (vodka soda, jack and coke zero)
Notice that these micro action goals are almost entirely within your control and much much easier to achieve than the main goal of losing 50lbs. The sad truth is that humans are hardwired to overestimate their abilities and underestimate the amount of time and effort required to achieve success, which is why we lose steam when we don’t feel as if we making the progress we originally expected.
It will be a long, hard and sometimes lonely journey. You must be comfortable with that if you ever wish to take yourself to the next level of excellence. Thrive on the momentum that you build as you check off the weekly actions goals off of your to-do list and commit to the process. If you’re going to be trudging thorugh the entire process you might as well learn to enjoy it.
Take the time to break down your goals into smaller weekly action goals and make sure to stay tuned for the final installment of the series where we will break down some time tested strategies to keep on track when setbacks, discouragement and anxiety seemingly stop our momentum in its tracks.
About the author
Head Coach, Managing Director
Wordsmith. Lover of Medieval literature. Heavy metal guitarist. History nerd. Dan mainly works with general population clients and normal folks that want to achieve their personal version of the extraordinary. He enjoys learning about what makes people tick, and to that purpose has decided to pursue a PhD in Business, focusing his research on the psychological imperatives that drive customer behavior – Basically, whether you’re looking to lose a little holiday weight or up your nude game to 12/10, he’s got what it takes to lead to the Promised Land.