New Year, New Me…
This time of year is perfect to sit back, reflect on the year that has just gone, and start planning for the year coming up.
Just DO NOT start listing resolutions and goals. Please.
And don’t do that dreadful thing where you want to make them public for ‘accountability’.
This year, I’m not doing ‘this’. Or, this year, I’m going to start doing ‘that’.
Stop. Please. Just stop.
It’s great to have ‘goals’ to aim for and look forward to, but first, understand what a ‘goal’ actually is, and understand there is a HUGE amount of hard work to both SETTING and then ACHIEVING your goals.
If you sit down and just set blunt, non-negotiable goals without much thought, what happens?
For example, I want to lose 5kg, or I want to hit 5 Pull Ups.
When we’re 3, 6 or 9 months into the year, and you haven’t achieved them yet, then what? What are you going to do about it? Are you now de-motivated and will give up, like lots of people do? Do you become unhappy because you’ve failed, and failed at something you potentially could have never actually succeeded at? What if you get to 12 months, and you’ve only lost 4.5kg – are you still a failure?
If you have met your goal, great. Well done. Then what? You just stop doing what you’re doing because you succeeded?
How about this…
Take some time for yourself, and start thinking about some outcome goals you’d like to achieve or areas in your life you would like to improve and make better.
Now, start working backwards to a position where you actually find yourself thinking about what process goals you can achieve and eventually habits you can implement on a daily basis to start to reach your overall outcome goal.
So, you’ve got an outcome goal (a roughly defined end point), process goals (small ‘wins’ that help you reach your outcome goal), and then habits (the actions you take on a daily basis that will help you reach your process and outcome goals).
Losing 5kg in weight is a common one we hear, so let’s use that as an example. Losing 5kg in weight is your outcome goal. By this time next year, you want the scale to say something different than what it’s saying now.
Firstly, you’ll lose 1kg, 2kg, 3kg, etc. These are your process goals – say, every 8 weeks or so you want to be 1kg less.
Then, what are the habits you’ll need to get you there?
One, eating more healthy. How do we do that? Let’s introduce a habit of having at least one portion of vegetables every day. Also, no takeaway food Monday to Thursday. Obviously this all depends on your current lifestyle, but you get what we’re saying.
Two, being more active. Add a 20 minute walk every other day to your current training level.
These habits, and CONSISTENTLY hitting them, are the key to achieving your big vision outcome goals.
Outcome goals can often be a clear cut ‘success’ or ‘failure’. If, this time next year, you’ve lost 10kg, 5kg, or only 3kg, the true ‘win’ in this will be the habits and discipline you’ve instilled.
Whether you can achieve your overall outcome goal is often not down to you.
If you’re a parent, for example, you’ll often put your children first. This means that no matter what, it’s actually your children that will allow you to reach your goal.
So the real win will come with the habits and discipline you develop, and not so much with the specific end target.
This process of having a huge goal, breaking it down into process goals, and then habits, can be applied to anything you want.
If you have some serious ambitions. If there are some big things you want to achieve in 2020 and start working towards during the year, don’t just mindlessly blurt them out.
Take the time to think about it.
Take the time to start writing them down.
Take the time to think about the process to get there.
Take the time to start writing down the processes and habits it’ll take to achieve.
Take the time to re-address your goals after you’ve written them down and written down the processes and habits.
Once you’ve started to piece together your journey, it’s then about relentlessly pursuing and instilling those habits.
If you don’t take the time to sit down and go through the hard work of setting the goal and making the plan, you were never serious about reaching the goal.
Daily habits designed from the process of genuine goal setting sessions are what actually change lives and help you achieve your vision.
Don’t make 2020 the year of the ‘new you’. Make 2020 the year you master the skill of commitment and disciple to making positive behaviour habitual, and improving the already amazing you.
Unless you are a bit of a d*ck, and you need a major overhaul of your personality, then yeah, maybe aim for ‘new year, new you’.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
(Apparently Aristotle came up with this. If he did, it’s a good one to be fair)