Focus on the Process of Improvement not on Resolution Goals
With Christmas just past we are entering that magical time of year when half the population resolves to lose at least 20 pounds and make massive changes for the better.
In a month about 98% of these resolutions will be long forgotten or suppressed.
There is a negative dynamic that prevails in resolutions to improve that I believe tends to set people up for failure.
First, resolutions tend to focus attention on perceived failures and shortcomings.
This produces a constant dirge of negative feelings.
Example: I have only lost 5 pounds, so Im still failing.
Often resolution targets create expectations that once you arrive at the goal everything will be peachy!
This often leads to getting totally bummed out at places along the waylike halfway to the goal.
It also leads to disappointment once the goal is reached because life is not suddenly perfect.
Striving to make improvements in your life is clearly important. Most significant objectives require a long-term commitment and a lot of discipline.
Working on difficult tasks for a long time can be discouraging if the only time you believe you can feel good is when you reach your ultimate goal.
Your feelings about all the daily hard work and discipline are linked to a future condition that remains out in the fog somewhere.
When preoccupied with resolution goals, fighting the good fight each day means little or nothing until the ultimate goal is achieved.
This is a prescription for failing.
We need to feel that all the work we are doing means something.
Embrace the Process
Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy took on remaking a football team that was at the bottom of the NFL. His approach as relayed through a book he wrote after winning the Super Bowl was to have his players focus on the process of becoming better rather than individual results in the near term.
The process in this case was consistently doing the many things needed to become a winning team.
When individuals take on a task that requires preparation and practice over many months and years, it makes sense to focus on consistently doing all the things needed to reach to a desired result.
Getting lost in daily ups and downs will quickly sap enthusiasm and determination.
For example, I have been working on this for three weeks and Im still 12 pounds heavier than I want to be as opposed to: Im carefully following the nutrition program that I have established to reach my goal.
Emphasizing interim measures or observations rather than the seeing the solid commitment to a process can undercut any chance you may have to succeed.
Begin with a Plan and Track Your Activities
All improvement programs begin with a plan. If I want this result, I will make a plan that will give me the best chance to achieve the result I desire.
A critical factor in succeeding will be to establish how you will evaluate your progress at different times along the way.
It is best to avoid making too much of any one workout. Some days you will be brilliant and other days sub-mediocre. This can lead to either false euphoria or self-criticism and negative thinking.
Example: todays workout was sh*t, Im still way too fat.this is NOT working!!!!
The consequence of a downer workout may be going face down in a Cheesecake washing it down with a 12-pack of micro-brew.
It is best to establish important measures you will track on a weekly and monthly basis.
Weekly measures should be high level process items such as: number of workouts, miles run, total reps in key exercises, and weekly diet totals.
Month end measures should be those for strength and bodyweight that you establish when you begin a program.
Check your image in the mirror monthly. Use a selfie to track your progress.
Bottom line is to be specific about what you are trying to accomplish, set up a detailed plan, then monitor your progress weekly and monthly.
Forget the open-ended resolutions that are likely to lead nowhere but leave you feeling bad.