As I write this, it appears another year is in the books. 2015 is a memory – hopefully, a good one – and 2016 has opened its doors to great opportunity! I always love this time of year because it provides us with two fantastic things: reflections on lessons learned, and tweaks you can make to your various strategies, as well as the optimistic look at goals to achieve over the upcoming year.
I’d like to talk to you about what I consider a crucial strategy in reaching your goals pertaining to New Year’s Resolutions (or any goal for that matter). Let’s jump right in.
KISS – Keep It Simple Silly. I think this is the biggest hurdle people voluntarily place in front of themselves. We see the New Year as a rebirth, or a starting-over point, which is good…but we all want so much better for ourselves and those we care about, and we start with the ultimate end goal in mind. Knowing where you want to end up is a good vision to have, but skipping from now to final is a guaranteed recipe for disappointment. We need to start out slow and grow into our awesome future selves.
Here’s an analogy: Did you know that a domino can knock down another domino about 1.5 times its size? The momentum created by the release of potential energy provides enough force to take it down. Sorry for the nerdly tangent, but I have a point. If you take on slightly larger milestones, you can make it to your huge end goal but if you try to jump right to the end… well, you will probably fail.
Watch this. So cool, and only 2 minutes –> Domino Physics
What happens if you put the 5mm domino in front of the 100lb domino and push it over? Anyone? Correct, nothing.
So, let’s say you currently do not exercise and you kind of eat like crap, but you want to be healthier. Good for you (I’ll join ya!) Let’s say we want to get to 18% body fat this year and we need a plan.
WRONG: Start working out 6 times per week, 2 hours per day at the local gym and give up all carbs from here on out until you reach said goal. If you do this, you’ll burn out in about 5 days and choose to abandon your goal altogether. Your body just cannot take that kind of strain and you cannot take that kind of nutritional shock to the system.
RIGHT: Let’s say you’re currently at 24% fat. How about we set the goal to be at 21% by the end of the first quarter? We’ll ease into a workout regimen for 3 days per week at one hour each with some light cardio – walking/jogging perhaps. After one month we can increase it to 1hr/5days. Eventually, we’ll add strength training and other fancy tough guy/girl stuff, but that’s much later. Let’s just cut out sodas for the first month and leave the rest of our diet alone until then. Maybe we’ll cut out dessert the second month. In April, we can start adding more protein and limiting more simple carbs to really hit our stride. We’ll keep adjusting and increasing our discipline as we move along according to a gradual plan.
I think the trick is to look at goal achievement as an exponential process, not linear. Progress on any goal will be pretty slow at first, but very fast and furious later. It’s a good reason to keep discouragement at bay and to cut yourself some slack for going easy and even coming up short in the beginning.
As a bonus, you may even want to consider looking into Kaizen. I think my favorite book on the topic is called “Mini-Habits.” It’s phenomenal and you’ll like it. It comes highly recommended by yours truly.
I’m writing this a couple of weeks into the beginning of 2016. If you have:
- already become discouraged with your main goal.
- did not make a goal at all.
- set a verbal goal but quit already.
Then, let’s start over right now because, seriously the past is not equal to the future. Let’s set a similar goal, just smaller – more manageable. Remember, something is better than huge aspirations that turn into nothing.
What’s your BIG goal for 2016 that you intend to start out SMALL on?