It’s resolution time! Time to make big, sweeping changes that deprive you of comfort and joy! Sound fun? Who’s in?
Most resolutions focus on an end goal that is obscure, involves pain and deprivation and ignores the process. Human biology is conditioned to avoid pain, to seek pleasure. So its no wonder that resolutions based on these principles so often fail.
When we want to make changes, it’s often because we want to improve something we don’t like. We focus on the negative, rather than the positive outcomes that will result from making those changes and improvements. We wallow in the failures, rather than celebrating the successes.
“Lose weight”. “Stop eating sugar”. But how? Why? Understanding your motivation is just as important as understanding the goal itself. Why do you want to lose weight? What will it allow you to do? How are you going to do it? What concrete practices do you have do routinely in order to get there?
Big sweeping changes. Almost anyone can grind it out for a period of time. But then what happens?
You give up. You rebel. You go right back to what you were doing before… or worse.
The goal might not need to change, but the process does. Aim high, but focus on daily, progressive changes that need to occur to get there.
If you were training for a marathon, it’s wouldn’t be realistic to start running 20 miles a day starting on day one. You would start slow, something manageable. And slowly, consistently increase that until you reached your goal. There would tough training days along the way, to be expected. But overall you are building towards your goal.
Humans like routine. What you do most often becomes who you are. For successful change, keep your eye on the prize but your focus on what you have to do each day to get there.