Nothing changes if you change nothing.

It's the new year, folks, and resolution-making is in full swing. Resolutions to lose weight, get organized, spend less, save more... resolutions to make a change. Because something has to change if we want to see a difference.

Nothing changes if you change nothing.

As Mr. Einstein quipped, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

Sadly, only about 8% of people actually follow through with their resolutions long enough to see results. Instead, they fall back into their original routine of life and nothing's changed. Let's not let that happen, shall we? We have an opportunity to make a change that will change the outcome. But we must be strategic if we hope to succeed.

 

1. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Repetition builds memory. Whether it's muscle memory, verbal memory or instinctual response, we can hard wire ourselves to do, say or think a certain way by drilling it over and over again. Don't be afraid to start small if you need to (in fact, starting small has it's benefits - see #2 and #3). When it comes to goal setting, don't shoot for the moon. Just shoot far enough that you'll have to stretch to reach your goal. Moonshots? That's a whole other subject with a whole other game plan.

 

2. Set small goals

It might be small, but a win's a win and each small win builds upon itself. You get that dopamine hit that fires up your brain for round two. All you have to do is win a few times early on and you won't want to stop winning. Build up that momentum, small win by small win, and pretty soon your work is done. Let the good times roll!

 

3. Limit yourself

When you're confident in your ability to run a mile and instead you stop at a half-mile, you're chomping at the bit to run again. To prove that you can do what you know you can do. Limiting your pace keeps you from burning out too quickly by peaking your excitement and then leaving you on a cliff hanger. Can you do more? Sure. But you'll have to wait until next time. Don't reach too far, too quickly or you'll find yourself overextended at the finish line.

 

4. The fewer the better

Don't set a lot of goals just because it makes you feel more accomplished. You're not, yet. And you'll be less accomplished at the end of the year when you realize that you've stretched yourself too thin. Choose only a few goals and work hard to achieve those, first.

 

5. Be specific

Stop it with all of this "lose weight" and "work out more" nonsense. Who's to say you're successful? If you lost 5 pounds but gained back 6, did you lose weight? Technically, yes. This vague sort of goal setting will almost assure a lousy outcome. Be specific: "lose 20 pounds by June 1 then work up to 3 miles in 30 minutes by December 31."

 

Goals are daunting but I believe you can set and achieve them. Hopefully, these tips will help take some of the burden off of the follow-through. I'm going to be setting (and hopefully, achieving) some goals along-side you this year so if you push me, I'll try to do the same for you.