It’s that time of year again for so many of us to set our New Year’s resolutions. Whether to lose weight, save money, quit smoking… we are all guilty of having the best intentions, only to see those goals fall to the wayside as soon as things get tough.
Have you heard of the “False Hope Syndrome?” It could be the reason only 8-10% of people actually succeed their lofty ambitions. False Hope Syndrome is basically our unrealistic expectation of how difficult self-change will be. We picture this incredibly smooth and obstacle-free process to get to our goal, but what we typically find is the journey is much more tumultuous than we imagined. No one escapes any kind of personal growth or lifestyle change unscathed. We all have to go through some muck to get there, but the muck is what makes us appreciate it in the end!
So why do well-intentioned goals fail? The devil really is in the details. We plan these big, sweeping changes and we cram them into short, arbitrary time frames. For example, “I want to lose 20 pounds by my wedding next month,” or “I want to lose 30 pounds before Christmas. Yes, I know it’s October, but I’ll do it!”
As the new year is here, we thought it was the perfect time to help you understand why big, arbitrary goals don’t work and what to do instead.
#1: WE TRY TO CHANGE EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE
What to do instead: Resist the urge to implement a rigorous diet AND exercise program right away. Instead pick one and focus all your attention and energy there. Give 100% to that aspect and tackle the other one when you’re ready.
#2: WE FOCUS ON OUTCOMES
(WEIGHT LOSS, INCHES LOST, ETC.)
What to do instead: Set up a clear action plan and focus on the daily behaviors that will get you there. If you know you need to eat more real food and less processed food, focus on that one behavior, and it will eventually elicit the outcome. If you only focus on the scale every week, you will quickly be frustrated! Weight loss is never perfectly linear.
#3: WE FOCUS ON WHAT WE’RE NOT DOING WELL
What to do instead: Every night before bed, write down 3 things you did really well that day. For instance, “I drank all my water. Iate veggies at every meal. I avoided the doughnuts at the of ce.”Praising your accomplishments will get you much more bang for your buck than constantly berating yourself. Think about how you motivate employees and children. You operate the same way!
#4: WE GIVE UP TOO EASILY
What to do instead: Put yourself on the hook by telling all your friends and loved ones about your goals and give them details about your plan. Tell them no matter what, you’re not giving up! There WILL be obstacles and roadblocks, so count on it. Changing the habits you’ve had for years is going to take time and you will stumble.
Take it a step further: Get a partner! Having a coach or accountability-buddy will do wonders for your lagging motivation. Let them know your goals and check in weekly with them. The Transformation Doctor specializes in accountability and support – it’s the secret to our patients’ success!
Change is hard, but IT IS possible. Seek out qualified guidance and resist the urge to try the same things you’ve done in the past. If they didn’t work then, they likely won’t work now.
New year, new path, new you!