For REAL success, start small.

By now you’ve seen dozens of New Year Resolution ads and encouragements.  By now, you’ve seen dozens of articles or friends balking at the very idea of resolutions.  Yes, we get it…every day of the year is a good time to start self-improvement…blah blah blah we get it.  But really, you should ignore those Debbie downers.  Here’s why;
If it takes a specific day of the year, when we feel like we get to start with a clean slate, to motivate us into action for self-improvement then what’s wrong with that?  In fact, it’s better.  Better because you are LESS ALONE in your endeavor this time of year.  There is a shared sense of struggle, journey, goal setting, and motivation when so many other people are doing it to.  That’s healthy for your ability to stick to it.
Studies suggest that only 8% of people who make resolutions stick to them and succeed in their goals.  That’s not a bad number considering 45% of Americans tend to make resolutions.  That’s 11.5 Million people who succeed!  That’s impressive!  (http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/)
Your resolutions signify your desire to achieve something.  That’s nothing to scoff at.  The desire is there, and initially the drive is there…you just need to sustain.  Here are some simple things to help you stick with your resolutions and achieve your goals;

  1. START SMALL!  There’s a book called ‘Mini Habits’ by Stephen Guise that I suggest you read.  Fairly short and easy read, and to be honest you’ll get the gist of it in half the book.  The idea is this; resolving to do a lot is hard to maintain over time.  You may have the willpower to get started, but willpower wanes.  What you need to do is start off small, with minuscule goals.  Goals so small there’s no way you can’t reach them.  With daily mini-goals, you’ll create a HABIT.  Imagine how awesome it would be to have a HABIT of working out, and not need motivation or will power to work out?  Read the book (while on the stationary bike for 5 minutes) then do 1 push up.  You’ll thank me (and Stephen).  More often than not, you’ll do more than your minimum.
  2. Set multiple goals; Go ahead and set your ultimate goal (example; run a marathon), but don’t put a time limit on it.  Just set it.  Once you have the big picture, break it down into smaller goals that lead to the big one.  Make sure the first MINI-GOALS are super achievable in the first 7 days.  Don’t just be realistic, be silly.  Make sure you don’t need willpower to reach your mini-goals.  That way you can achieve a series of small victories in short order keeping you motivated for the long haul.
  3. WRITE IT DOWN!  Daily.  Keep a log and be accountable to yourself.  Do something every day!  No matter how small it is, remember you’re creating a habit!  If you missed it, you can write “skipped it” in your log.  BUT, in the time it takes you to write skipped-it, you could have done 3 pushups, and solved that problem.
  4. This is SUPER IMPORTANT; Get involved with other people with the same goal/resolution.  There’s a reason Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Alcoholics Anonymous have decent success rates…they involve a community of people all working on the same goal.  You’re not alone, and your motivation can be helped along by others.  We see so many people reach their goals at places like Colorado Krav Maga simply because they’ve made connections with other people like them in class.  They go to the same classes, work out together, and talk afterwards.  Some even build friendships outside of Krav Maga and text each other when they’re going to class or have other activities they might like.  This is a HUGE factor.
  5. Honestly, skip the big gym membership.  Regular gym memberships are rarely used successfully for reaching goals.  Self-motivation is easy for short bursts, but humanly impossible for the long haul unless you’re obsessive compulsive (I jest, sort of).   Instead, shoot for group classes and workouts.  Whatever your flavor of workout, do it in a group and in a class with a pre-determined start time.  Having this structure is insanely important to helping you reach your physical goals.

Just remember, don’t try to take on the world TODAY, just take on one small task that you can do every day without fail.  If it’s “too small to fail”, you’re more likely to make it a habit.  By this time next year, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start last year.

Happy New Year!

James H.