The One Rule to Follow in 2019
The new year is symbolic of reaching goals, starting fresh and shedding things that are not good for us. It’s a time to begin anew and leave all the disappointments, bad relationships, and stresses from the previous year in the rear-view. In the early months of the new year, it is understandably exciting to set goals, create vision boards and hold fast to the resolutions and promises made to ourselves.
Unfortunately, lasting change is DIFFICULT. Going cold-turkey on alcohol, meat, sugar, whatever it is, is great in theory, but in many ways, it sets us up for failure. According to research from the University of Scranton, only 8% of people keep their New Year’s goals by year-end. 8%! That means 92% of us, will likely fail at keeping our resolutions.
The Failure Loop
Around the second week in February, resolutions start to become “man, I tried but…” or “I’ll start again next month.” This failure loop, that repeats itself every year, is not healthy and creates a distrust within ourselves.
Over time, we subconsciously don’t believe we’re actually capable of making a lasting change or reaching our goals. Even worse, the distrust loop that we develop within ourselves when we don’t meet our “audacious” goals or resolutions, is how self-doubt, low confidence, and low-esteem begins to take up space in us.
Once I realized this, my approach to every new year immediately changed. I got rid of the resolutions and decided I was going to stay true to only ONE rule every year and that is:
#1 Enjoy the Process
Now, this may not sound earth-shattering to you but let me explain and hopefully, it sparks something within you. Focusing on the HOW and not the WHAT changes everything for the better.
There is nothing wrong with setting goals, but consuming ourselves with the end result doesn’t serve us. The path, or the steps we take to achieve our goals, is where the real magic happens. If your goal is to be physically healthier this year, you should think about some ideas to help you reach the goal instead of what restriction you will put on yourself.
- Maybe it’s waking up a bit earlier than usual to get in a 20-minute workout
- Packing your lunch instead of buying it every day
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Ordering healthy groceries online instead of allowing yourself to wander down the bread aisle
- Incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly routine
- Biking to work
- Trying out that kickboxing or dance class that you keep getting a coupon for
- Blending smoothies for breakfast
Once you have your list (I try to come up with about 10), try ONE a week. Let the things that stick STICK and the things that don’t – let them fall by the wayside. The idea here is to make your goals work for you. Through the process, you will find out what you enjoy and what feels natural to you. You will become passionate about some ideas and others will die hard, but ultimately you will end up with a routine that you love and doesn’t feel like WORK.
When we shift our minds away from the end goal and focus on the application of the goal, we are bound to be more successful. Interestingly enough, sometimes our goals even change when we focus on enjoying the process and not just reaching the goal. For instance, by trying one of the healthy ideas mentioned, you may find that you love biking and naturally a new goal develops around training for a race. If you were solely focused on working out X days a week or dieting, you may have never discovered your passion for biking.
Focusing on the process makes reaching goals fun. It’s a great way to avoid getting bored or stressed with whatever strict resolution you’ve made. This year, try eliminating the struggle and enjoy the process. Have fun with it and trust me, you’ll end up better off and more successful.
Cheers to 2019!