January – The holidays are over, the gym membership sales are flying through the roof, new Pinterest accounts are being created every second, people are posting motivational cat posters all over social media, you probably ate something healthy for breakfast, and people are not only making eye contact with you on the subway, but they might also be smiling at you. People are filled with motivation and positivity everywhere you go, oh what a wonderful world!
But why do barely any of these good things continue to exist throughout the year? Except for those motivational posts on social media – I don’t need to be told to “live in the now” another 3,000 times this year, those can just disappear into oblivion. But actually, why do good habits only last so long? Well, I might just have the answer for you, and it will only cost you 3 easy payments of $14.99 – but only for a limited time. Well, that was a sad attempt at a joke.
Research suggests that it takes about 21 days to form a basic habit, like drinking hot lemon water during breakfast, and it takes closer to 66 days to form a more complicated habit, such as completing 30 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning (brainpickings.org). Although the answer to our lack of good habit forming could simply be that the three months of dedication is too much to ask for, I believe the answer is a bit more complex.
Many people search for the magic bullet approach to their problems where the solution is all encompassing and fixes everything in the shortest amount of time. Take the, “I’m going to get in shape and lose 10 pounds by February”, goal that many people think of before heading to the gym on January 1st. It’s a great goal, and it can be easily accomplished. However, the goal itself has flaws within it.
The goal is basic idea. “I’m going to get in shape and lose 10 pounds by February” is a mere wish that someone has made out of desperation because making New Years Resolutions are the normal thing to do.
Simply saying, “I’m going to get in shape and lose 10 pounds by February”, without thinking and planning on how accomplish the goal in a way that best suits your personality and lifestyle is the same as me saying, “I’m going to win the lottery tomorrow”, without buying a ticket for the lottery. It sounds crazy cool, but it’s close to impossible.
Shit, so what do we need to make our dreams a reality?!
First, you need to know yourself and know what works for you – if you hate running, but have a resolution to start running to get in better shape, you’re probably going to fail. But if another form of cardio, like cycling, brings a smile to your face, you should try it.
Just a general rule for life, do things that make you scream and jump up and down with excitement. Fangirl over your own life!
Secondly, you need some sort of purpose – so you want to become a lawyer because you binge watched every episode of Suits in two days? It’s an awesome show, and Harvey Specter is the man, but it’s probably not enough to get you through law school. But if you have a desire for bringing justice to those that have wronged someone/something, you would make a really good lawyer. Why do want to complete the goals that you came up with? What’s the benefit of completing said goal?
Third, you need to take the time to make a solid plan – you want to quit smoking and plan on going cold turkey? Good luck. Plan how and when to work on your goal, and be realistic with your timeline. Think of alternate ways to accomplish your goal. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.
Side step, and this is optional, you should pay attention to what is happening around you. Look into astrology, the weather, your thoughts and emotions – essentially, be aware. You wouldn’t want to start advertising your new business when Mercury is in retrograde and all means of communication have gone to shit, would you? The answer is no.
Lastly, take action! Just do it. Once you have your goal, a reason for working on it, and have a plan on how to accomplish it, don’t look back, don’t dwell, just get to work.
So these are some really basic tips on how to prepare yourself to better achieve your goals in this upcoming year. I’m emphasizing the word basic since I’m not charging you the 3 easy payments of $14.99. But hey, if you apply these tools properly, you might just think they are the keys to creation.
I would wish you good luck for 2016, but you won’t need any now that I gave you these tips. Regardless, I wish you the most success and joy in 2016!
Until next time,