Last month I talked about gratitude and as of this writing, I feel even more grateful than when I wrote the article. I was able to enjoy the holidays with my extended family and friends, stay up too late talking, playing games and watching the entire Harry Potter series. That’s the funny thing about gratitude, the more you acknowledge gratitude the more of it you have.
This is a great time of year to reflect and jot down what you accomplished in the previous year. The list is probably longer than you think. While you are there, jot down all the positive things that happened in the past year. Take a minute to be grateful. Share some of them with someone. The list is longer than you thought, right? This is also a time people make resolutions, said another way, promises to themselves. I am not a fan of the resolution as it typically comes from something we feel needs to be fixed about ourselves and that is just not a good place to start. So, the resolutions like lose 20 lbs., go to the gym more, spend more time doing more of this or less of that often come from a place of criticism of ourselves. I resolve to be more constructive in my resolutions.
And if you do want to lose 20 lbs.? Great! That means you have a commitment to your health and fitness or you value being able to fit into a pair of those fancy biking shorts or yoga pants. Nothing wrong with that. It is ok to want to look good in your yoga pants. What I am suggesting is that you focus on the commitment or value that is driving the desire to lose 20 lbs., rather than the criticism you have about yourself. How do you know the difference? Criticism often starts with words like “I should”. I should lose 20 lbs. I should drink less alcohol. I should exercise more. You get the idea. These statements come from self-criticism and that is not a good place to start. Let’s try to get back to your commitments and values and see if we can reframe that. Let’s say you want to lose 20 lbs. because you want to live a better, healthier life and it would be great if you could fit into those 32-inch waist Levi’s (that one may be mine). You’ll have a better chance of getting to your goal if you approach it as a commitment to live a healthier more productive life. Next, think about the behaviors that could help you achieve that goal. The behaviors are more important than the outcomes, especially because if losing 20lbs. is your goal, it is going to take a while, and if you just look at the scale, the result, you’re not really going to see much progress for a while and your enthusiasm is likely to wane. If you focus on the behaviors, you’ll have signs all along the way that you are doing the right thing. Behaviors are 100% within your control. I’m not going to tell you what those behaviors are because you should come up with those yourself, but I will give you a couple of examples; take 10,000 steps per day, meditate for 10 minutes. These are concrete and measurable. Even easier, as a start resolve to take a 15-minute walk after dinner.
OK, I’ve given you some ideas about how to model behaviors and you can use these for anything, but you are going to need some help. Get a buddy to help you focus on the behaviors that support you and check in with you on your progress. Your buddy can also get you back on track when things go wrong. They can listen to you when you have let the behaviors slip and help you refocus.
I’m in this with you and I am happy to share my experiences and if you are looking for a buddy I can do that too. There is no end to the resources out there to help you reach various goals and I am happy to share some of the ones I have come across. My suggestion is to focus on or use the ones that help you with specific behaviors not just setting and achieving goals. You’ll have a better chance of fitting into those fancy yoga pants.
The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only. The articles are not the opinions of ProCore Advisors, LLC.