When we don’t have full information, we naturally tell ourselves a story. This can be dangerous and get in the way of our resilience.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars.”
- Norman Vincent Peale
RESOLUTIONS CAN BACKFIRE
Have you made resolutions for this coming year?. Are they the same ones you didn’t quite realize in 2018? 2017? Earlier? If so, you are not alone. As you have probably heard, 80% of resolutions fail by February and only 8% of those who set resolutions achieve their goal.
Personally, I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. For many years I told myself “this is the year I will lose weight” or “this is the year I will be more spontaneous.” At the end of the year, when I had not done those things, I just felt bad about myself. Frankly, it was a little depressing.
CHANGING YOUR MINDSET
Resolutions have often led me to have a “black and white” “I did it or I failed” mentality. If you know me or have been reading my blog, you know that I believe that small changes in daily habits can have a profound impact. So, rather than set resolutions, which make me feel like it has to be “all or nothing,” I focus on progress…moving forward one step at a time.
I frequently set goals for myself but rather than simply focusing on the end result, I try to enjoy the small achievements along the way. This reminds me that I am continuing to make progress and enables me to enjoy the process; not just the result.
SOMETIMES FALLING SHORT = BIG FAILURE
To be clear - there are times where a goal must be met or it is a major failure.
Examples that come to mind include:
The airlines employ staff to make sure an airplane has enough fuel to make it from NY to London. If the employee falls short of this goal, the airplane lands in the Atlantic Ocean. Epic failure.
When a cardiac surgeon performs bypass surgery, not meeting the goal of the operation may mean death for the patient.
An air traffic controller who only gets it right 95% of the time, could cause terrible accidents and many deaths.
My point here is that there are times where goals are black and white…all or nothing. Anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable.
However, I don’t think that’s true for most people’s yearly goals or resolutions.
SETTING KEY GOALS
My key goals relate to fostering the relationships that are most valuable in my life, growing my business, pursuing personal growth and development, and taking care of my body and mind.
Some of the measurements I use to encourage me to take care of body and mind are:
I participate in the Goodreads annual challenge to track the books I read.
I use the US Masters Swimming Fitness Log to track my swimming and other exercise activities.
I wear a WHOOP strap that tracks a range of fitness data including sleep, activity level, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability.
For me, tracking data in these areas gets me to read instead of watching more Netflix, swim when I’m feeling lazy, sit less, and sleep more.
For some people, tracking this kind of data can be distracting and make them a little nuts. If the numbers start to cause stress, it defeats the purpose of promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The most important thing is to find what is right for you.
What motivates you? How can you break large goals into small steps that are achievable?
It’s okay to set big goals. As the quote at the top of this post highlights, even when you fall short of a lofty goal, you may still be accomplishing a lot.
While it is true that falling short of some goals equals failure, there are many instances where falling short still means you have made significant achievements.
If you intend to read 50 books in a year and read 45, that is still worth celebrating! If you have increased earnings by 23% instead of your stated goal of 25%, take a victory lap!
Goals can motivate you to move in a given direction.
You may not reach your destination, but each step along the path is worth reflecting upon and appreciating.
As we enter into 2019, take the opportunity to look back on your achievements from 2018 and celebrate them. Look forward and create big goals that can be achieved one step at a time.
Most importantly, enjoy the journey!