...in order to be ready for your 2018 goals.
Before I get into the tactics of goal setting, I'll paraphrase Tony Robbins a bit.
Your goals don't matter.
They illicit you to change your behavior TODAY.
So it’s now it’s the week before Thanksgiving, and you are possibly making up excuses, scenarios or self-limiting thoughts on how the next month and half will be utterly disastrous for maintaining your health and continuing towards your fitness goals. But...New Years is right around the corner and you can start fresh, right?
Um, yeah, sure.
It feels like Halloween is now the kick-off of the holiday season and we all soon be overwhelmed by busy schedules, family gathering and holidays parties. We are probably going to allow ourselves to over-consume everyday (not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas).
Don’t worry about enjoying yourself on the big gatherings. Worry is another stressor and will only serve to further inhibit your health and fitness goals for 2018. Enable yourself to be worry free by restraining yourself on the in-between-holiday days between now and Jan 1st, 2018.
However, I’m going to give you some things to do/think about over the next thirty days so that you can have some goals, and a clear path to achieve them before you write down the so very cliche “new year’s resolutions”.
1. Don’t stress about how good or bad you will be over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Whether you had one really enormous “cheat day” or maybe it was a “cheat weekend”, in the long run of few days of overeating is not going to make a significant difference in your health and fitness. Think of it from the other direction. If you ate seaweed and protein shakes and worked out for 4 days straight would you expect to be miraculously fit for the next 12 months? Of course not. (Well, at least I hope not). Getting fit and staying fit takes consistent effort, just like getting out of shape takes consistent, albeit “bad”, behavior. Worry and guilt won’t help, so relax and look forward.
2. Don’t doom yourself to fail.
Lofty goals or New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 without a workable plan are just wishes. Now, I’m as big a fan of big goals, stretch goals, possibility goals as there is; however, without a systematic process to reach your desired outcomes you are not likely to succeed. In fact, your goal shouldn't be focused on the outcome at all, rather the best goals focus on adhering to the process that gets you to that end point.
3. For the month of December think small.
Yes, think small. What are the small changes, maybe even micro-changes in your habits and lifestyle that you can keep over the next 30 days or so. Why small/micro changes? Because, it’s important to realize that discipline isn’t something we’re born with. It isn’t genetically coded before we’re born like our height, the color of our eyes or the shape of our ears. To say "he or she has more discipline than me" is a self-limiting belief that releives you from trying harder.
Discipline is a skill or trait that can be developed. Like physical strength, discipline is a trait that can be developed and improved upon. Yes, some are born with traits that will make them stronger, faster or leaner than others; but, anyone can get stronger, learner, faster through consistent practice and hard work. Similarly, everyone can build a stronger “discipline muscle”, and with discipline we can consistently make the steps needed to achieve our goals.
It's up to you to become a better version of yourself.
Make a list of four things that you can do to practice being disciplined over the next month. Ideally, these would be improvements or enhancements to your burgeoning healthy lifestyle, but remember, nothing is too small. The key is setting yourself up to be successful.
Here’s an example of four small, but daily habits to add to your routine.
– Wake up 5 minutes earlier every day. If you normally set your alarm for 7:00am, set it for 6:55 am
– Take a fish oil pill every day
– Floss before you brush your teeth
– Drink 8 ounces of water before every meal
These are small behavioral cues that I have borrowed from a handful of highly effective coaches (including Dan John and Steve Ledbetter) that are simple tasks but great tools to kick-start your ability to form good habits.
4. Follow this Process for the next 30 days:
Take your list of four mini-tasks and assign a number to each: 1,2,3,4.
On week 1, this week only start mini-task #1. If you are totally successful (all that means is you did your mini-task every day), then on week 2 add mini-task #2. If you are totally successful with mini-tasks 1 and 2 by the end of week 2 then add mini-task #3. Again, if you are totally successful with mini-tasks 1, 2, and 3 by the end of week 3 then add mini-task #4.
5. By now we’re at the end of December.
Before you set your goals for the year, reflect on the last 30 days. How did your mini-task project go? What were your successes? What were the obstacles. How did you feel when you had difficulty to complete a mini-task? How did you feel at then end of a successful week?
When you go to create your goals for 2018 use what you have learned about yourself to not only formulate your goals, but in crafting your action plan for success.
Remember, that your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. More on this acronym later, but here’s the definition:
Your Goals should have all of the following characteristics
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relavent
T – Time Sensitive
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