January is a time for new year resolutions. Resolutions can be about making changes to any aspect of life such as career goals or making more time for the family.
A common resolution theme is health. People resolve to stop smoking, to exercise more, to eat healthier, to drink less or maybe most commonly; to lose weight. However, we’ve all heard the cliche of the broken resolution within days, weeks or months of it’s start point. So what is the secret to sticking to a goal?
Having ‘lose weight’ as a goal can be a tough starting point. The problem is, losing weight is not something we can wake up every morning and actively do.
Yes, there are certain conditions we can create each day that will cause this to occur, but then in reality, we are ‘doing’ lots of small tasks that results overall in weight loss. We are not ‘doing’ weight loss itself.
The goal to lose weight is perhaps too broad to begin with, or rather it is an ‘End Goal’. When we don’t see it happening right away, it is easy to feel like we aren’t achieving anything, and we give up.
Why not set your goals or resolutions on something different, something more absolute, something more tangible. Here I am talking about physical goals.
In January 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the resolution to run 365 miles this year, or a mile a day.
The strange thing about this goal is, it doesn’t say ‘to get fit’, ‘to lose weight’, ‘to decrease stress’, ‘to become a great runner’. It simply sets out to complete this simple and physical task.
As it happens Zuckerberg completed his 365 miles with 5 months to spare, he can now comfortably run 20 miles in a single session, and has a personal best of a 5 minute 53 second mile. It is safe to assume that he did get fitter, become a better runner, and improved body composition in the process.
This is an example of setting a physical goal. Something you can assure success in on a daily basis.
Weight loss is not a linear progression, and it can take time. It will involve set backs, ups and downs and plateaus. Getting on the scale every morning to check if you’ve lost weight is a good way to go crazy, not to tick off another successful day.
However, running a mile everyday is something you can actually do and tick off on your journey to 365. Another day, another little victory. And if you miss a day for some reason? Run two miles the next day, and you’re right back on track. Simple.
Why does this work? Success breeds success.
If your goal is weight loss, how about; “I will walk 30 mins each morning by getting off the tube early”
If your goal is to get stronger, how about; “I will do 10 push ups each morning”
If your goal is improved health, how about; “I will add an extra serving of fruit or veg a day”
Tick off your success each day on a calendar, and if you miss a day, double up the next! If you can achieve these small victories everyday, you are moving closer towards your end goal. If after time, it becomes 20 push ups, 2 portions of veg and an hours walk, even better.
For long term success, consistency beats intensity.