It’s Time for a FreshStart
A few days before welcoming in the New Year, I savor a moment of reflection by our Christmas tree and am grateful that I’m snuggled inside while outside the first snowfall arrives with gusting winds and a predicted 12 inches. Across the street, a new house is being built, and the workers leave for the day as the weather worsens. Just this morning, the cement trucks arrived to pour the basement, the framing nearly complete and taking on the shape of a new home. It all started with a couple’s desire to fulfill a purpose in their life and taking action on their dream. I watched them this summer walk the land and soon saw a sold sign on the vacant lot. It’s been exciting to watch their dream unfold, knowing they probably spent hours creating a blueprint, working within a budget, and deciding on a trusted team of professionals to execute their plan from excavation to the fine details of choosing fixtures and paint colors. Day by day, consistent progress is being made.
Like a building process, we need a blueprint in all areas of our life: relationships, personal growth, career, spiritual growth, and health and fitness. Statistics verify that health, fitness, and weight loss fall at the top of the New Year’s resolution list. Despite good intentions, “only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.” (Forbes.com). We indulge ourselves through the holiday season with a little voice saying it’s okay because we’ll get a fresh start January 1st. The New Year begins with hope and a promise, and within a couple of weeks, the events start again – a Super Bowl party, a family birthday party, an irresistible dinner out with supersize portions. All of the weekday efforts of discipline quickly get reversed on the weekend and the discouragement sets in, yet there’s a gratitude for a cold climate where a bulky sweater comes to the rescue and bides some time before facing summer attire.
So how do we succeed and achieve consistent results? How do some fulfill their resolutions and others don’t? Let’s face it: we often get focused on one aspect of health – like working out more or trying the latest diet – and oftentimes, the resolution fades and dies. It may seem like a bother, but taking the time to plan a strategy for success makes all the difference.
Purpose – Get Your Why
The couple building their home, started with a dream, a purpose – why they wanted a new home and what was important to them.
It’s no different with your health goals – you can’t miss this step. Begin by asking yourself what is important to you about health, what’s important about taking off those pounds or being more fit? A simple approach is to list five words that describe what health means to you. Then in a sentence or two, what do these words mean to you? Finally, in a paragraph, describe WHY you want to be fit and healthy.
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Defining Your Specific Goals
Imagine building a house without a blueprint. Hopes and dreams are pointless until you get the specific blueprint laid out, allowing action to follow.
By writing out your health goals you’re giving yourself a target to move toward. It’s important to make your goals specific, simple, meaningful to you, measurable, realistic and achievable. Keep this simple formula in mind when defining your goals: Nutrition + Exercise + Support = Success.
1. Aim is setting a determined course in order to achieve a set target. Aim ties to purpose and intention. What are your aim goals?
2. Goal is the desired result you want to achieve, the target you want to reach. What are your end goals? State what you want specifically, short-term and long-term.
Mindset, Focus and Support
Every day there is consistent progress on our neighbor’s house. A plan is in motion with a supportive team and, with consistent effort, the results are unfolding. In the beginning, you could barely see progress and suddenly it was noticeably taking shape.
We are empowered when we take charge and responsibility for our life. Take a step forward by choosing an exercise and meal plan that fits into your lifestyle and that you can enjoy. Put your workouts on the calendar, clean out your cupboards of unhealthy foods, and plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Let go of your excuses and choose to succeed. Progress will not occur with excuses, blame, or falling victim to poor health choices. Progress happens with a plan and executing the plan – one step at a time, one day at a time.
“A one-hour workout is 4% of your day. No excuses.”
There are plenty of mental/emotional limitations that can slow you down from reaching your goal. Pay attention to your language and your self-talk to identify those stumbling blocks. When we get fearful and anxious, we tend to get negative: “I can’t do it, I’m doomed to stay this way, my family is overweight, it’s too hard, I suppose I should work out, but there’s no time, I have no will power.” You will move toward your goal with better results when you use your language in a positive way. Be kind to yourself. “I am moving toward health, I am enjoying exercise every day, I am choosing healthy foods, I am in control of my portions, I am patient, I can do this.”
Have you ever set a goal and kept it to yourself? A healthy support system is an essential part of your focus and success. Accountability, encouragement and fun will make for an enjoyable journey and it will be a more meaningful experience. Who says getting healthy has to be miserable? Support wears different hats for different people – a personal coach, a Facebook group, a spouse, supportive friends and co-workers, perhaps instructors at your health club or fellow workout partners.
Obstacles are Part of the Journey
The snowfall continued through the night, waking up to the 12 inches that were predicted. Across the street at the building site, an electrician was at work before 8:00 a.m. installing outside lighting even though the streets were not yet plowed. The unfavorable conditions were an understandable obstacle to reschedule for another day, but not this worker. He was staying the course.
Beware of obstacles that are bound to happen – the unexpected, a mistake, a slip up. You have a piece of cake at a birthday party. It happens! We have to enjoy life and will indulge at times. Often we get our best learnings from an obstacle on the path, and we learn how to anticipate better the next time. So rather than getting discouraged and giving up, get the learning, make the appropriate adjustments and keep moving forward!
Success – Goal Accomplished
In the spring, our new neighbor’s home will be complete, goal accomplished. They will move in and enjoy the newness of their home for years to come and will do whatever it takes to maintain its structure and beauty. As time passes, they will likely make adjustments or even major changes to adapt to how their lives unfold in the future.
Celebrate your successes along your path when you reach your goals, make adjustments and assess next steps, whether it’s taking a goal to the next level or maintaining what you’ve achieved.
“How to succeed? Be very focused on your goal and work on it daily.”
Personally, I have been strongly attentive to my health and fitness needs all of my married life of nearly 40 years. However, in the past five years, I gradually got sloppy with my health habits. I was eating too much, not exercising enough, making excuses, wanting change but not taking the time to plan for it or to take action – simply because it had come so naturally for me. January 2015 was a time to reassess what was important to me. It has changed over the years – from wanting to win a race back in the day, to wanting the energy to keep up with our grandchildren. Accordingly, I wrote out my purpose and goals, and committed the first three weeks to establish new habits of exercise, meal planning and portion control. Some of those days were tough and discouraging. I was determined to persevere, and once I got through those three weeks, it was surprisingly easy. I reached my goals in 2015 and set the appointment on my calendar to write out new goals for 2016.
What health resolution will you want make for 2016 that will make a difference in your life? Take the time to write out your purpose and get focused on your goals. Be realistic and specific. If you want to be a part of the 8% that achieve their New Year’s goals, then utilize some of the tips I mentioned.
Need help articulating your purpose and getting specific with your goals? Utech offers Leadership Breakthroughs and customized individual development programs that help you achieve results in whatever area of life you need more focus to attain your goals.
Chris is a Personal Development Coach specializing in Leadership Breakthroughs. Chris is a certified Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, a certified Emotion and Body Code Practitioner, a Quit Smoking Specialist, and a Coach with the Empowerment Fit Network. Under the division of Fresh Start, Chris enjoys impacting individuals in the community to help them improve relationships and reach their goals in all areas of their life. Click here to learn how Chris can help you.