The New Year often acts as a tabula rasa for our lives. An anticipated restart button to reach again for our elusive goals abandoned the previous year, as well as new resolutions.
From fitness to career and mental New Year’s resolutions, the month of January sees many people motivated to go for bigger and better- be their best selves, it’s your hot girl year. Until the romanticisation of implementing new habits get jettisoned and reality sets.
Here are five things I have recognised that previously hindered me from achieving my New Year goals- which you might identify within yourself stops you from achieving your goals in general.
1. Setting goals that are not yours.
In your bid to grow and develop a better career, improved fitness routine or better relationships- start your journey with some introspection to discern what season each goal fits.
Everybody around you projecting a particular positive standard should be inspirational. However, that does not mean that’s the standard for you at that stage of life. If your season requires a level 60 push, forcing yourself to output 100 effort will eventually leave you overwhelmed, and you will crash and burn before fulfilling the end goal.
Your goals don’t have to be big and grand to make sense to anyone. As long as it is tailored to your needs and challenges you just enough without breaking you- it is valid.
2. Your low self-esteem is affecting your self-discipline.
“The feeling of being valuable is a cornerstone of self-discipline because when one considers oneself valuable, one will take care of oneself in all the ways that are necessary.” – M Scott Peck, The Road less travelled.
One of the reasons achieving our goals can be difficult is our fickle self-discipline. You can’t adopt a new habit of waking up at 5 am every morning. Go to the gym. Cook and eat three balanced meals a day. Developing healthy relationships and excelling in your career- if you do not feel valuable enough to have the rewards of that routine.
Alongside implementing a plethora of new goals, the foundation of successfully executing these resolutions is identifying and asserting your value to yourself. Ultimately, if you see yourself as a valuable being, you will maintain the discipline to give yourself the best life has to offer.
3. Overwhelming yourself by implementing every goal at once.
There are 12 months in the year. You will be setting yourself up for failure by introducing your brain to 10 new habits in month one. Your brain needs time to adjust to new routines.
If it feels overexerted, it will revert to old comfortable patterns. And you will be left feeling demotivated and discouraged at your lack of consistency.
To achieve large-scale resolutions, you have to break up your goals into bite-size chunks. For example, if the goal is to improve your fitness by working out five times a week- it will be unfair to your body to throw yourself into it from week 1. You will work up to that goal by working out two times a week in month one, then gradually increasing the frequency every month- this challenges you but isn’t as strenuous for your brain as the former.
Allow yourself to work up to your goals. Transformation still happens when you take steady steps instead of massive leaps.
4. Our need for immediate gratification.
The reality is, long term goals require patience, time, discipline and consistency to execute successfully. In our society of ‘next-day delivery’ and ‘lose 30 lbs in one week drinking slim tea’, we have evolved into beings driven by quick results. And when the reward does not come in fast enough- we quit. Because “if it hasn’t happened in a month, it won’t work.”
“Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.”- M Scott Peck
In the quote above, the pain symbolises the discipline of showing up every day for yourself, even if there isn’t a visible result quite yet.
There are no immediate gratifications for long term goals- learn to trust your process and believe in the pleasure at the end of the road.
5. Shiny-object syndrome.
You have somehow convinced yourself that you need the modelled home office set up to avert your procrastination or start that business. All the planners advertised to be more organised. The gym accessories or a Gymshark decked out fitness gear wardrobe to kickstart your fitness goals.
You can have the best equipment and resources needed to execute your dreams at your disposal, but if the issues highlighted in the previous points are not improved on, you will never feel ready. Start where you are and find ways to make what you currently have work for you when commencing your journey. You will never feel 100% ready to transform your life. But the more steps you gradually take utilising everything you have now, the more confident you become in achieving your goals.
The beauty of life is that we constantly grow and better ourselves across different aspects. Depending on the aspiration, we can become immensely overwhelmed by the changes needed to evolve. And change can be scary while old habits lurk around the corner pulling us back into familiarity and comfort. But it is in this fear that we uncover the highest version of ourselves- if we persist. So this year, I hope you get better at chasing and achieving everything you have aspired to, with a middle finger up to fear and uncertainty.