The importance of goal setting, specificity, and habit building.
We all know what a New Year’s resolution is. We’ve all made them and we’ve all shared the experience of breaking them. With a New Year comes new energy and excitement, a clean slate if you will. Why is it that we gain motivation in the beginning of the year and then slowly but surely, we sink back into our old ways? They may be improved old ways, but tbh by the holidays, they’re our old, old ways. What is the secret trick to maintaining and accomplishing our goals?
The truth is deep down New Year’s resolutions are just…habits. 🤯
We fall off the resolution wagon so quickly due to a lack of specificity and intention. Making statements like “I want to lose weight” or “Eat healthier” or possibly “Meditate more” have no call to action. How are you going to create these changes? What changes are you going to make in your day to day schedule to accommodate your new aspirations? This is where specificity comes in.
Write. It. Down. Write a whole page about it! Talk to yourself, have fun with it, write in detail how YOU are going to accomplish these goals. What time of day will it take place, are you going to squeeze it in the morning or evening? Try to speak as if it is already happening. Let the universe know this is the real deal and you are serious about what you are wanting to accomplish. In other words set the intention, in specific detail. Let's say you want to meditate more, when and where can you create some space for this? If you think you can carve out some time in the mornings, create the habit of waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual so you have extra time for your new endeavor. The key is to design it in a way where there are less hurdles, so you can b-line straight to this new habit you are creating!
Make it attractive. If the goal is to go on a run 4 days a week, would investing in a new pair of cool running shoes help you hit the pavement? Probably. If it’s meditation, can you create a Zen space that is just for you and your practice? It can be a corner in a bedroom, your couch with your favorite afghan, or in my case a closet that I spruced up in my LA apartment. In his book Atomic Habits, James clear states that “Habits are a dopamine driven feedback loop…and without dopamine desire died. And without desire, action stopped” So make your new habit irresistible by embellishing small details in your day to day.
The beginning will be the easiest. You are excited about this new adventure. Writing it down in detail and verbalizing it to friends and family will help hold yourself accountable. It will keep you going when you start losing motivation.
Pushing past the point of thinking, “I realllly don’t feel like sitting in my meditation corner and breathing for ten minutes rn” is what changes the trajectory of who you want to become! Tony Robbins says people over estimate what they can do in a year but under estimate what they can do in ten years.
Try not to become paralyzed by overthinking. (Less think-y, More do-y)
A tool I implement if I am feeling unmotivated is Mel Robbins’ 5 second rule. You count backwards from five, and by the time you get to one you should be doing whatever your new ritual is. For example, say you want to wake up earlier. When your alarm goes off, instead of hitting snooze, you count backward from 5 and land on your feet at 1. This is a fun game to play with yourself and it distracts you from having to make a decision in the first place. Don’t feel like doing yoga today? Count backward from 5 while putting your yoga clothes on. Then count again while getting your mat out and one more time while pulling up your yoga app or YouTube. This is a super fun and easy trick that has helped me with my goal of waking up at 5 AM.
I don’t want to sit here and say that it’s easy to build and maintain habits. Two weeks into my 5AM wakeup goal, I slipped. My alarm started blaring and I immediately shut it off and pulled my pillow over my head. I woke up three hours later muttering to myself, “Dammit just another year of breaking my NY reso’s.” I had to remind myself to have patience within it all. Every single day is a new day to be our best. Just because I slipped one day, or five days or twenty I didn’t need to quit entirely.
Always think back to the day you decided you were done going through the motions. The day you were done “wanting” to change your life. The person you “wanted” to be is YOU. You just have to tap into it, stay consistent, and remind yourself why you started in the first place. Persistence is what transforms ordinary into excellence. Every day you are working toward your highest potential, and getting closer and closer with each decision you make. As the motivational speaker and New York Time's best selling author Mel Robbin's says "You are one decision away from a completely different life"
Set yourself up for success by implementing some of these tools, give yourself a break if there are some days when you feel off, and always remember each day is a brand new day waiting for you to succeed.