Be Different From Everyone Else This Year

2016 is here.

Whether you like setting New Year’s resolutions or not, you can’t deny the great feeling of a fresh start that a new year brings.

This blank canvas is often an awesome motivator for us to set new goals, move forward and de-clutter our lives.

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Unfortunately, we often lose momentum quite quickly with only 8% of people sticking to their resolutions long term.

Gym memberships get wasted, “detox” pills and powders work their way to the back of the cupboard and deprivation fuelled binges kick in mid-late January.

Because this is what the majority does, one phrase always sticks with me for the secret of New Year success:

“Observe the masses and do the opposite”

Let’s take a look at the common traits of New Year’s “resolutioners” and think about what YOU should do instead.

 

What the masses do #1: think in all or nothing terms

When we think of things in all or nothing terms, failure becomes very clear cut and in black and white. This risk of “failure” is magnified when our resolutions consist of lofty, rather unrealistic goals.

When trying to form a new habit this might be fine at first when motivation and willpower is aplenty, but what happens a few weeks or even days in when you slip up?

You feel like you’ve failed!

It often doesn’t just stop there though.

Our “failure” knocks us back so much that we often don’t end up back on the wagon or we self punish (for example when we break a rule on our diet by fasting or massively dropping calorie intake below normal) and end up repeating the cycle again.

What to do instead

Understand that we all slip up from time to time and a minor slip up doesn’t warrant you to self punish and completely fall off the wagon, never to get back on again! Nor does it mean that the small slip up actually had ANY effect on what we’re trying to change.

Instead, think about what causes you to slip up in the first place and address this issue.

For example, if you crave chocolate mid afternoon then a potential solution is to make room in your diet for chocolate in moderate amounts to stay on top of that craving and therefore on track.

No idea how to do this? Try starting here for a handy, FREE guide.

This is a much better option than eating super “clean” for 5 days and then demolishing an industrial sized bar of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut because you haven’t been eating foods that you enjoy!

In short, it’s not about the “failure” itself that is make or break, but how you deal with it. Be flexible with your diet and other goals, and cut yourself a little slack. You’re more likely to succeed long term.

 

What the masses do #2: set goals that are unrealistic, unplanned and uninspiring.

As a follow up from #1, setting achievable goals is essential for our success.

Let’s use a typical goal as an example:

“I will lose 7kg (one stone) by 1st of February”

In order to do this, our hypothetical individual decides to follow a high protein, zero carb diet. They’ve heard that this is the best way to lose weight, fast.

The only problem is, 7kg of pure fat is very difficult, if not near impossible to lose in just a month. Prior to the new year, their meals heavily consisted of potatoes, pasta and rice as the base, and they have limited knowledge on how to cook.

Therefore this goal, and the process to achieve it is unrealistic.

A lack of planning is also apparent. There is huge amounts of change there when simply not ready for it. There is no room for much progression when the inevitable weight loss stall happens. All of the carbs have gone! This makes it very difficult to drop food intake to push weight loss again.

Their goals are often not driven by any emotion or inspiration. We need this to fuel our motivation to change.

Rather than solely talking about setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) goals that we’ve all heard about a million times before (not saying they aren’t important, but perhaps their importance a little over exaggerated), let’s take a little look at really makes for a good goal.

 

What to do instead

Set realistic goals. If your goal is to lose 7kg, a loss of 0.5-1kg per week is much more realistic and would require a lot less of an extreme approach than mentioned earlier.

Rather than trying to be a millionaire in a year from your new business idea, first try and earn £500 a month on top of your day job.

Pick goals that strongly evoke emotion and move you. Goals that move you to achieve them go much deeper than just getting a short term reward. Psychologist and TED presenter Kelly McGonigal explains this much better than I can:

“Give yourself permission and time to think about what it is you want to experience in your life or what’s getting in the way. Think about what you want in the coming year, then ask yourself why you want that — three times in a row. For example, if you want to quit smoking, ask why do you want to quit? Then, if you want to quit for your health, ask why do you want good health? Then, if your answer is to be alive long enough to meet your grandchildren, ask why do you want to meet your grandchildren? You get to something that just feels so obviously important to you. It really drives home why that goal matters, and that motivation can bolster you as you work toward the goal.” (The Science of Setting Goals)

 

What the masses do #3: talk a good game but don’t take action

Talking about what you want to do doesn’t actually get it done.

If you go on Facebook now you’ll likely see tons of posts about people’s plans for the New Year, which is great as they’re making it public and therefore making themselves accountable.

Unfortunately however, not many people will take action on these resolutions.

I don’t believe these people are purposefully self sabotaging, but instead perhaps haven’t thought through the sacrifices, and everything else involved with moving towards their goal.

 

What to do instead

Commit and be accountable!

Rather than telling everyone through Facebook or other social media, share your goals and resolutions face to face with supportive family and friends. The personal nature of a face to face meeting will mean so much more to you than just dumping a load of words onto a screen.

You could go one step further here and pay for help in achieving your goals. Paying for someone’s services can often increase accountability.

Shameless plug for my own coaching services here or alternatively email me: james@jamesblanchard.co.uk .

This financial investment will often make you take things more seriously and assuming you hire an expert in their field, it will improve your knowledge and get you closer to where you need to be.

I see this happen regularly where people may pay for a gym membership with good intentions as it’s the “cheaper” option but don’t have the knowledge to use it effectively. This equals little to no return on their investment.

Instead they could pay for as much coaching as their money can stretch, and achieve what they set out to do in the first place as they are getting our guidance, knowledge and therefore a learning experience for the money. This is an investment for life as it stretches far beyond the package they pay for!

 

Summary

  1. Slip ups happen, we’re only human. Isolate the issue that causes you to slip up and address it.
  2. If you need help incorporating your favourite foods into your diet, click here. Doing so will massively help with adherence to your approach.
  3. Set achievable goals and break them down into easier to manage short term goals.
  4. Set goals that evoke emotion and move you. Doing something to benefit your family, for example. These are the ones that you will really be able to stick to and are highly rewarding to achieve.
  5. More action, less talk.
  6. Be accountable for your actions. Tell your loved ones face to face. Don’t shout it from the rooftops and post it all over your social media feed!
  7. If applicable, pay an expert in the context of your goal to help. This financial investment may help commitment and motivation.
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