It’s about that time – time to resolve to do things differently and create our very own “Extreme Makeover” special. The concept that we’ve been taught to believe is exciting and enticing:
- Look at what you don’t like about your life…
- Make a promise to yourself that you’ll do better…
- Try really hard and…
- Voilà – yes, I had to look up how to spell that 🙂 – problem solved!
Here is the thing: It rarely works out that way.
If you’ve read my book 265 Point, you know that my shocking weight loss transformation started out as a 2008 New Year’s resolution. I started out gung ho on January 1st like most resolutioners, but by February 1st I was down in the dumps. Why? Because despite getting up at an ungodly hour 6 days a week to work out, at the end of 4 weeks I had lost ZERO pounds! Can you identify? To set an important goal – one that’s designed to make your life better in some way – whether it is to lose weight, get out of debt, repair a broken relationship, or get closer to God – and fail miserably, is in a word: devastating. I was so heartbroken and vulnerable that I almost quit. I desperately needed the change but I felt rejected by the scale. That rejection was almost too much to bear.
Reflection point: Has rejection ever made you feel like quitting on something that you so desperately wanted?
Thankfully I didn’t quit. I went back to the drawing board and re-evaluated some things. After some serious soul searching and recalibration, I was able to reach my goal in October of that same year – despite the catastrophic start. It IS possible – for you too!
So today, I’m sharing what I’ve learned through my experience and through working with hundreds of clients because I know how painful it is to not reach your goals. I want to position you to live the life you were born to live, to like what you see when you look in the mirror and be able to walk into a room with complete confidence.
Sound good? Okay, let’s get this party started!
5 Reasons Our New Year’s Resolutions Fail — and How to Succeed This Time Around
1. Our goals aren’t SPECIFIC enough. Losing weight, getting out of debt, repairing a broken relationship, or getting closer to God are all admirable goals, but what do they look and feel like? Is it 10 pounds or 30 pounds? Will it take $5,000 or $15,000 to pay off your bills? Does repairing that broken relationship look like talking with your father once a week or once a month? And how do you plan to get closer to God – praying daily or going to church once a month? Specificity creates clarity and clarity creates focus. EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would be, “Join XYZ gym and workout 4 days a week.”
2. Our goals aren’t MEASURABLE. This ties directly to point number 1 about specificity. The goal needs to be specific so that you know whether or not you achieved it. We instinctively resist accountability which creates a strong tendency to set loose, immeasurable goals. The payoff? No one (including us) can say that we failed. But the lack of accountability also does us a disservice. Just think about it…would you have studied in school if you knew there would be no quizzes or tests? Would you have busted your butt in high school if a diploma was not at stake? Probably not. The bottom line: Without accountability we typically don’t give our best.
3. Our goals aren’t ATTAINABLE. For a goal to be attainable, you must possess the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to achieve the goal. It’s not enough to want it, you have to know how to go about getting it. Have you identified someone who already has the success you seek? Have you studied their habits and behaviors? Do you know what physical, mental and emotional sacrifices they have to make daily to be a success? Or are you just familiar with their results? Results don’t just happen, they require skills, resources, and daily disciplines. Do your homework to find out how they do what they do. That’s what will position you for success.
4. Our goals aren’t REALISTIC. I’m going to spend a little more time on this one because in my experience this is the piece that often puts the nail in the proverbial coffin.
Yes, by definition goals should have some stretch built into them but don’t go too far left. Goals that require a Herculean effort set us up for failure. Every. Single. Time. Please hear me: none of us is perfect and we never will be. For this reason, goals that require perfect performance ultimately sideline us – for days, weeks, and if we are not careful, months or years – because we can’t live up to our own lofty expectations. Why create a system that requires something we know we will not do consistently and long term? Unless you plan on giving up bread, pasta, potatoes for life, how can doing it for 30 days -without a clear plan to “phase-in” and regulate some of your favorite foods – possibly create a lifestyle? It can’t and it won’t.
Secondly, in order to succeed at your chosen endeavor, it’s going to require the word that many of us cringe at: routine. I know, I know, routine tends to be equated with boring but remember this: daily disciplines determine destiny. It’s not enough to do it for a week or two, you’ve got to do it until you reach your goal and beyond. In order to create a new lifestyle, the changes you make have to work for YOUR life. What worked for Michelle or Mike is irrelevant, the question is what will work for YOU? Considering your workload, family commitments, school assignments, etc., what workout schedule can you reasonably commit to? Set goals based on what you are willing and able to do at this time. You can always revisit later when things change.
5. Our TIMING expectations are off. Can I let you in on a little secret? We all have a tendency to grossly underestimate how much time and effort it takes to accomplish goals. It’s not that what we want to do can’t be done. The timetable is often where we go wrong. Losing 12 pounds is certainly a doable goal but the timing makes a huge difference. For example, to lose 12 pounds of fat (not water) you need a deficit of 42,000 calories. That means you need to burn 42,000 more calories than you eat. The effort required to create that 42,000 deficit in 6 weeks is very different from what it takes to accomplish it in 3. Are you willing and able to put in the 3-week type of effort? Or are you trying to finagle 3-week results with a 6-week effort?
To have the life we want, we have to make our goals specific and measurable, then do a reality check to ensure the goal is attainable given our current knowledge, skills, and resources (if we don’t have them yet, our first resolution is to get them). Once we have a check by those three, our goal must pass the sniff test – are we keeping it real with the goal itself and the timeframe in which we want to accomplish it?
Reflection point: S.M.A.R.T. goals position us to be goal getters, not just goal setters. Does your resolution pass the S.M.A.R.T. test?
Wishing you God’s best in 2020 and beyond!
Tamara “Coach Tam” Jackson
Chief Visionary Officer
265 Point Total Fitness