The key to achieving our goals twofold…
How is it going with your New Years Resolutions?
If you are like most folks things are going well so far but …like most folks…in a few weeks things happened and we can lose momentum.
I want to talk about a few things today to keep the momentum going.
First let me give a bit of insight into WHY we lose momentum. I think it is because either we are not specific enough with what we want to achieve or we expect too much and do too much too soon.
For example, losing weight is a common goal this time of year. We get it in our mind “I’m gonna lose weight and get in shape this year!” A noble and worthy endeavor for sure yet we usually get stuck in one of two places. We either are not specific enough with what “losing weight and getting in shape” means or we are unrealistic with our expectations and efforts.
When setting goals we have to be as specific as possible. For example…if I have a vacation goal to go to California but I am not specific as to exactly where; it could mean the vacation of a lifetime or a complete disaster. I could end up in a wonderful city by the bay or in the middle of the desert. Exactly where I go determines the route I take and what I will do while I am there.
As well, we have to be realistic with our expectations. Let’s return to the weight loss example. Say you tell yourself you are going to lose 50 pounds. It is specific and, again…a worthy endeavor…and doable…IF you keep it in proper perspective. Most people don’t even know how much weight per week is good for sustainable progress. So they hit the gym or diet like crazy thinking they are going to be trim and fit in a month and when February rolls around they either not lost any weight or not as much as they thought for the effort they put in…and…so…they give up.
Well, why did they not lose the weight? They worked their a** off didn’t they?
First of all 1-2 pounds per week is the healthy target for sustainable weight loss. Trying to lose too much too soon wrecks our metabolism and can even make us gain weight. As well, we need to be specific as to what “weight loss” really means. Pounds can come off but what are we losing? Water, muscle or fat?
But I digress…this is not a post about losing weight…
The point is that if we are not specific or we are not realistic…we will not achieve our goals.
There is a Japanese term that relates to this…KAIZEN.
It meant Constant and Never-ending Improvement. Another way of putting it is small changes over time yield big results!
And there are three things to consider as we approach our goals with kaizen. Acknowledge, Accept, Adapt.
Acknowledge. We cannot get to where we are going unless we know where we are. This can be difficult because rarely do we enjoy looking at our selves in a less flattering light. Yet it is imperative to honestly take stock of where we are so we can accurately asses what we need to get to where we want to be.
Accept. Once we acknowledge we must accept…without judgement! Negative self talk is the mental cancer that will kill our progress. Beating our selves up for where we are lacking doesn’t do any good. We must accept that where we are is right where we are supposed to be based on effort (or lack of) up to now…period. No judgement, no putting our selves down for not being where we think we “should” be. (one of my teachers used to say, “Never
‘should’ on yourself”!). Just accept; but don’t leave it there…
Adapt. If where we are is not where we want to be…change. This is where being specific and realistic is key. We must plan the work we need to do to get to where we want to do. We work out the exact steps we are going to take and how we are going to take them and then once the plan is in place…we do it!
We must understand that anything worth achieving in life takes effort and that we are engaged in a process that takes time and we must exercise patience. But with commitment, dedication and perseverance we can and will achieve what we set out to accomplish.