I’m not going to depict the usual dismal picture of what occurs at the beginning of every New Year. Namely, people making hoped for resolutions and rapidly falling off their courses like flies. Approximately 40% of Americans make resolutions while only about 8% succeed. The statistics are just plain bad.
Mark Twain had a good understanding of the pattern: “New Year’s Day…now is that accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
What about the other side of the coin? Say you are one of those dedicated few who does succeed. Then what? Say you’ve lost the 10 pounds, finished the project, learned the basic level of a foreign language…
You may well feel deservedly proud. But there may be another feeling lurking. You might be feeling a bit lost or thinking, “now what?”. If the path toward your goals was difficult and you felt stress and controlled, you may not feel like even thinking about the future or any other changes.
This type of thinking can also lead to the sabotaging of your goal, a gradual backslide toward your earlier habits and routine leading to the loss of your achieved goal.
You can avoid this treacherous turn by being aware of just how you define and set your “goals”. Let’s take a look at the #1 most popular resolution; namely, losing weight. While saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds” is measurable, which is good, it also leaves you dangling at the post 10 pound loss status.
You might benefit by doing the following:
• Check in with your deeper definition of success and ask yourself some questions as you are deciding upon what it is you really want. Is your final goal really to lose 10 pounds? Why? Your answer may have more to do with feeling younger, healthier and more energetic. Those are characteristics which you can continue to go after even after you lose the weight.
• Set behavioral goals that are aligned with your main goal. Learn how to cook more healthful meals. Continue doing this until your brain makes it into a habit and you’ll be more likely to keep doing this after your weight loss.
• Find something enjoyable in which you engaged while seeking your goal. If you enjoyed hiking or walking while on your journey to meet your goal, think of joining a hiking or walking group for the dual purpose of keeping the weight off and continuing to enjoy the activity.
It’s important to keep your goals in balance with the rest of your life. Do not let the goals overtake your life or your focus. If you do, it makes it more likely that you view success and satisfaction as something to be obtained in the future. Remember, joy and fulfillment can and should be found in the here and now and the achievement of goals can then make life all the sweeter.
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