With the coming new year, we tend to make all kinds of promises to ourselves about the things we will be changing in the coming weeks and months. We’re focused on what our lives look like on the outside, and how we can change our lifestyle to fit the expectations we have for ourselves. As an example, we see this manifest itself in a surge of gym memberships. Attendance begins to wane by February, and by March the majority of new memberships go unused. This seems prevalent in most of the new year’s resolutions we make. While many theories floated around to suggest why this might be the case, science has actually pin-pointed where humans go wrong in setting these lofty life-changing goals. The foundation for this disconnect begins with our unchanged perception within ourselves. If we do not have a foundational re-wiring of the mind, and our outlook on life and ourselves remains the same, our lifestyle cannot produce any drastic changes. We don’t change certain habits by changing our lifestyle, we change habits through a change of heart and mind.
We can plan out our goals to a perfect T: Making a specific goal, breaking the process down into short term and long term, and mapping out every step it takes to reach that goal – yet if we do not change our perception of instant gratification, what it takes to push through daily obstacles, and fail to see the fun in the process, we will ultimately falter. Think back to a time when you’ve made a habit stick, like washing your hands. Hopefully, this is a habit we’ve all made as adults especially during the pandemic. We created this habit because we were convinced and/or convicted to its importance in our hearts. A teacher can tell a child all day to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but until that child understands and accepts this truth for themselves, they won’t develop this habit. There are plenty of people, unfortunately, who don’t make it a habit to wash their hands. These people still believe in germs, and that germs spread, yet they simply don’t care. No amount of forcing someone to wash their hands, is going to change how they are feel in their hearts and minds about this habit. Only those who are convinced that this is the best course of action, will effectively make a habit out of hand-washing.
The same goes for a weight loss goal. We are so focused on the end result: a certain amount of weight loss, but fail to see what changes we must make in our minds to make this happen. A weight loss goal, or any goal for that matter, is unachievable if we 1. Fail to make it fun, 2. Fail to accept that exercise (or any new habit) is healthy instead of a chore, 3. Fail to accept and love ourselves the way we are today, 4. Fail to be convicted that the process is more important than the end goal, and 5. We fail to accept delayed gratification. All of these steps are internal perceptions about ourselves and the process of developing a habit. Oftentimes we are so focused on the end goal, that we lose sight of the process and ultimately demotivate ourselves right out of it. This contributes to our perceived “failure” in achieving that long term goal we set for ourselves – Overall hurting how we see ourselves.
1. If we successfully add fun and spontaneity to the process, we will be more apt to stick with something that elevates our mood and contributes to our sense of wellbeing.
2. If we accept a new habit as something healthy for our mind and body, rather than a chore, then we will be more likely to follow the schedule we set for ourselves.
3. If we choose to love and accept ourselves for where we are today (even if it’s not where we want to be), you won’t be quick to berate yourself for “falling off the wagon” – which causes us to justify abandoning the process altogether. A few negative thoughts run through our head like “Why should I even try?”, “I’m not good enough now, and I’ll never be good enough.”, “I may as well give up since I can’t even do this right.” – Compare this to the thoughts of someone who chooses to love and accept themselves, even when they “fall off the wagon”: “That’s okay, I don’t expect perfection out of myself.”, “A habit is not formed in a day, nor is it lost in a day, I’ll get right back on track”, “I am doing the best I can right now, and I’ve already come such a long way”.
4. If we accept that the process of reaching a goal is where the true growth happens, we will be much less likely to expect instant gratification from our step-by-step plan..
The way to achieve a goal is to actually WANT it in your heart and mind. No one can force any habit on anyone, we cannot even force a habit on ourselves, unless we truly want it for ourselves. It means we also have to NOT want the things standing in the way of our goal; the very things we do want – like watching too much tv, spending too much time on social media, or anything that we love doing that takes us away from the goals we want to accomplish. We have to want the goal MORE than we want our unhealthy daily rituals. The sum of a goal-oriented life, is to have a goal-oriented mindset. And without a change in mind and heart, trying to change habits or reach goals will be like hitting a brick wall over and over – and us constantly asking “why?”. Take some time to work on your perceptions about your lifestyle, your expectations, and how you perceive yourself before setting lofty long term, or even short term goals. After all, no one wants to intentionally set themselves up for failure, over and over again. So in order to change our lifestyle, we must first change our minds. Here’s to a new year of constant change for the better! Shine on Starz Friends, from the inside out! P.S This is another reason Starz seeks to develop healthy habits (Like fitness) in children at an early age!