Well here we are 40 some days into 2021, a year that so many have had large hopes for. And so far … it’s on the path to continue being as crazy as 2020 was. Unfortunately, the turning of the calendar doesn’t mean that magically change is going to happen. Though culture would have us believe that we can make New Year’s Resolutions and they will happen.
I’m not one that has made New Year’s Resolutions for years now, they always seemed pointless, since I don’t manage to sustain them for more than a couple of days at best. And that lack of follow through applies throughout the year, I decide “I’m going to work out every day!” I work out one day a month maybe. “I’m going to add an evening meditation into my routine!” I don’t even think about it before I fall into bed at the end of another long day. “I’m going to drink less wine,” I make it 2 or 3 nights and then fall back into my typical evening reparitif. You get the idea …
For a long while, I just kinda gave up on making goals. I’m a busy person, I run a small one woman design firm. I am a single mom to two teens. I try to be an involved friend. I enjoy a wonderful relationship with a man I adore. I love to travel. I’m an introvert, and I need a lot of alone downtime to restore my reserves. So certain things, mostly in the area of my health and physical wellbeing, have slid with valid reasoning. I am a firm believer in the saying “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.”
However, that hasn’t stopped my mind from still creating goals that I don’t follow through on. In fact, sometimes I think it makes it worse. I think “What’s one more thing? I can do it. I am Superwoman, see me do it ALLLLLLLL!!!” This usually ends with me feeling even worse about myself, because I didn’t even come close to succeeding.
Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that setting goals is an important part of life and business. Without goals, we are liable to get lost or never make it anywhere, flowdering in the day to day of our lives. In the self help world, we’re big on the power of starting, hell I’ve written about it before (The Fear The Binds, July 2019). Starting, taking that first step is vitally important. And so is consistency. Showing up every single day, committing to yourself, to your practice. Doing one small thing until it becomes a habit is more attainable than having set big lofty goals that we don’t have a realistic thought out plan for executing.
I listened to an incredible conversation between Aubrey Marcus and Jerzy Gregorek
a couple months ago and the lesson that Gregorek shared has been percolating in the back of my mind ever since. Here’s the secret, are you ready? It’s the 1% (no not Harley riders, though they are some of my favorite people). Seriously, it’s 1% for the long haul. Gregorek coaches olympic weightlifters and he won’t take anyone on, unless they are willing to give him 3 years of their time. He said it’s incredibly difficult for people to change their habits and that when we try to throw too many things into the mix at one time, we set ourselves up for failure. So what he coaches people to do is to take little tiny baby steps towards their progress, he calls it micro-progression. Basically you master one small skill or new habit at a time, then build the new skill or habit, progressing in small steps to achieve the desired outcome over time.
Another coach put it to me this way, 1° of change taken consistently over a matter of time will result in massive amounts of change.
And it applies to all areas of our lives – food consumption, exercise, reading vs social media, drinking less, meditating, etc.
And honestly, what’s easier when you think about it – “I’m going to start working out for 2 hours a day (despite not having 2 free hours a day) for 6 days a week and lose 40 pounds in 6 months?” OR “I’m going to move my body, in ways that feel good to it, for 30 minutes a day, until that’s a habit.”
It’s going to take time to form a new healthy habit, while the popular view point has been 21 days, an article on Psychology Today says that it’s more like 66 days).
So give yourself a break and quit trying to kill yourself, commit to yourself for 66 days to do 1 small thing towards that large goal everyday. And watch yourself make real change! If even this feels like it’s too much, then it’s time to consider hiring a coach, or having an accountability partner, someone that is going to help you keep on track and cheer you on when you succeed.
Cheering you onward