We have passed the mark where many people give up on their New Year’s goals for a variety of reasons. Maybe that includes you? I know it has included me in previous years! The good news is that you DON’T have to wait for next year, or even next month to start making positive changes.
Here are a few tips to make your positive changes last!
#1 INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
I don’t like using the word “motivation” often because people will fill up on it, feel good for a few minutes, hours, or days, then go right back like it never happened because the motivation was primarily extrinsic. Sources of extrinsic motivation include coaches, motivational videos/books, accountability partners, etc. Intrinsic motivation is different. It comes from an intense internal desire and doesn’t rely on extrinsic factors.
If you talk to anyone who has reached amazing goals, they will often tell you there was a time and place where something clicked; They were going to create action, no matter what, even when they didn’t feel like doing the work. And they will also tell you that it wasn’t an easy task, but that it was so worth it! They accomplish their goals by tapping into their intrinsic motivation that keeps them going even when the extrinsic motivation is gone.
#2 MAKE THEM REALISTIC
We’ve heard it thousands of times.
But it never ceases to amaze me how many clients I coach who want to make huge lifestyle changes overnight, in one big step. Even when they are successful at making these big changes, it doesn’t seem to last long.
It seems like the bigger a change something is to your normal activities, the more likely it is to fail. We have often spent years, even decades living one way. Trying to change that overnight can trigger your brain into thinking it’s a threat. No matter how often we say we want to change ourselves for the better, we wake up every morning and our brain subconsciously wants us to stay the same – because staying the same is safe.
The small changes aren’t cool. They aren’t flashy. They aren’t what sell. But they work.
#3 CREATE OR FIND YOUR AFFIRMATIONS OR QUOTES
Affirmations are a statement or personal slogan you can keep to meditate and focus on that expresses a basic belief. It sounded like “woo” to me at first, but you can begin to identify with them in a positive way. On the flip side, repeating negative self-talk can have similar but detrimental effects on self-improvement and growth. When working one-on-one with clients, we often dig a little deeper and discover they identify with something negative in their mind. That negative thought is something they identify with and it is often going in the opposite direction of their goals. This makes reaching their goals that much more challenging and less likely to happen unless we can rewrite those beliefs into something more positive.
Not big on affirmations? Try finding a quote that resonates with you! One that I often think of is, “Full effort is full victory” by Gandhi. That quote gets me through a lot of tough workouts, because all I need to focus on is giving my full effort and nothing else!
#4 EXECUTE YOUR PLAN
Nothing happens if you don’t do the work! Execution is the MOST important part! Don’t waste another day, week, month, or year without executing on your goals. You won’t get any closer if there is no activity towards it. Sit down and write down what needs to happen – all the little steps. One of my favorite and a legitimately amazing resources is this episode of Chasing Excellence, a valuable podcast by Ben Bergeron, coach of Katrin Davidsdottir and Mat Fraser, both 2x CrossFit Games champions. It can also be helpful to do some “fear-setting” alongside your goal setting. In this TED Talk, Tim Ferriss explains what “fear-setting” is and how to do it effectively.
Don’t waste another year waiting to make positive changes.