We are a few weeks into the new year and now is the time when a lot of us come out of the festive season and start to think about our resolutions for the year ahead.
Some of the common things that people think about this time of the year include losing weight, finding a new job or maybe even cutting back on alcohol (particularly if you consumed too much over Christmas!).
Regardless of what you are trying to change a lot of people start off with gusto. They sign up to a gym, commit to going at least 3 times a week, go and purchase all the flashy new gear. The first week is fantastic. You hit the gym on day 1 have an amazing workout and you start wondering why you didn’t do this earlier. Day 2 is a bit rough as you wake up sore all over (discovering parts of your body that you never knew could become sore!) but it’s OK because it’s for a better you! Day 3 you hit the gym again and whilst there is still a bit of left over soreness you feel great! You’re in the zone and firing on all cylinders.
As week 2 flows into week 3 work starts to pick up. People are now back mentally from holiday season and starting to strategise and execute for the year ahead. The novelty factor from starting something new starts to wear off. Now it’s just starting to feel like…work. But you aren’t a quitter so you persevere. You’re still holding on and the 3 times a week commitment you started with drops to 2 days. Not ideal but hey 2 days is better than zero days!
And then crunch time hits. You get pulled into something at work which ‘needed to get done yesterday’ and you have to put in the hours to make sure you make up for lost time. And you still have all your other non negotiable commitments outside of work which haven’t changed. At the same time you’ve made this resolution around losing weight – you have a judgment call to make.
It’s OK you say. I’ve been good for a few weeks, banked some exercise equity, plus the work requirement is temporary. Once I’ve met my deadline this week I’ll get back to the gym next week. And then next week rolls in and because you did such a great job meeting last week’s deadline you’ve been pulled in to another ‘crisis’ situation. Whilst it’s great as you’re in demand at work your resolution is suffering.
You start to get flustered because you were so set on losing a few kilos and that seems to be slipping away from you. You started off so well and things have gone off the rails a bit. You reconcile the situation with hopefully the ‘crisis’ situations will pass or decline which will free up some of your time and you’ll get back to the gym. But unfortunately you never quite get back to it.
This is an all to familiar state of affairs unfortunately. You can replace losing weight with finding a new job or cutting back on alcohol. Doesn’t matter what it is. The story is the same for a LOT of us.
The reason is generally a lack of clarity on why am I doing this. We all live overflowing lives. What I mean by this is we are full to the brim and some. We have jobs which consume us far more than the 9 to 5 with present day demands and constantly being ‘on’. Outside of that we have our personal and family commitments. A lot of us are constantly running from one thing to another with very little time to sit down, exhale and take stock.
And so being clear on why we want to shift anything in our lives is absolutely critical to long term success. So that when you reach a decision point, or a draw on your time, you are clear why you are doing what you are doing and you can make a decision.
So let’s take the losing weight example. Say you are carrying a few excess kilos, which at this stage of your life isn’t a huge issue. However you remember this was how your father started out. He was fit and healthy and then he started putting on a bit of weight. Just a gradual weight gain. Over a period of 20 years or so this led to him developing all sorts of health complications which significantly affected his enjoyment of life.
What gets you is if only he took slightly better care of himself at the start he would be able to enjoy life with his kids and grandkids. That pulls on your heart strings every time and you say to yourself I do not want that for my life. THAT is your why for losing weight – maintaining a reasonable level of health and fitness so you can enjoy life to its fullest.
So when crunch time comes around and you have a decision as to whether you stick with losing weight you reflect on your WHY which is around being able to enjoy life to its fullest (with your dad as a case in point) and you go – I want a different outcome for my life.
So as you are figuring out what you want to achieve this year remember figuring out your why is just as important if not more with ensuring you achieve what you want.