We are a few months out of the resolution season. Are you still pursuing what you said you would?
It’s likely that you aren’t. And that’s ok. One thing that is important to remember is that it is never too late to pick back up again. You can start pursuing your resolutions or goals the minute you’re done reading this.
But what’s even more important than starting again, is making sure that you don’t give up this time. To do so, you need to hold yourself accountable. But what does that look like, exactly? To find out, let’s go through five different strategies you can use to hold yourself accountable.
STRATEGY #1: CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
One of the best things you can do to keep yourself from continually “starting over” is to completely let go of the idea of starting over. If you’ve felt like you’ve fallen off the wagon and need to get back on, or have needed to start over because you stopped, it’s likely you have an all or nothing mindset.
The all or nothing mindset is crippling for one major reason. It demands perfection when perfection is literally impossible. This mindset leads you to believe the lie that you do all things and do all things the exact way you want them to, or you don’t do them at all. As you’ve likely discovered, you can’t do all things perfectly all of the time, so the only alternative to this mindset is to do nothing at all.
It’s absurd. And you need to leave it behind. The mindset that you subscribe to now is the something over nothing mindset. This mindset is focused on doing something, no matter how small, and remembering that something, even if it’s not perfect, still matters.
As you know, you can’t really just switch your mindset like you can a lightswitch. It takes time. To make this shift easier, focus on actions and behaviors, as well as celebrating wins. More on this later.
STRATEGY #2: GO PUBLIC
There’s something to letting the world know what your aspirations are. It’s almost like moving on to something greater and burning the bridge behind you. There’s no going back.
You don’t need to announce your intentions to the entire world, but I do recommend letting some people in on your goals. Tell people what you intend to do, and why you intend to do it. If they love you and care about you, they will support you when things get tough, and cheer you on each step of the way.
Whether it’s as big as posting on social media, or telling a few friends and family members, share your dreams with someone. We were not created to go at things alone.
STRATEGY #3: FOCUS ON ACTIONS AND BEHAVIORS
We all have big long-term, outcome based goals such as…
There is nothing inherently wrong with thees goals. But, I don’t recommend putting much of your attention here. These goals are examples of outcome-based goals. Outcome-based goals are primarily focused on the end result, or the outcome, rather than the process.
If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, you need to lose 5 pounds first. And before you do that, you need to lose 1 pound, and to do that, you need to adjust your diet and/or exercise routine.
Break your outcome-based goal into behaviors that you can follow. Behaviors are largely in your control. You either do them or you don’t.
So, set your outcome based goal. After you set it, don’t think about it again. From there on, you will set your eyes on daily and weekly behaviors. Those are your new goals now. Let’s continue using the 50 pound weight loss goal as an example. These could be some new behavior based goals to focus on:
The list could go on and on. The point is to reduce your big goal into monthly, weekly, and then daily behaviors that are largely in your control.
STRATEGY #4: FIND YOUR WHY
You may say you want to lose 50 pounds, or get more defined, but what your heart truly wants is to feel confident in your clothes, or have the stamina to keep up with your kiddos.
You need to find why these goals are important to you. Why do they matter? Why is it worth changing your environment and decisions?
When you know your why, it will be far easier to give your best effort when the going gets tough.
Seriously, do not skip this strategy.
STRATEGY #5: CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
We’ve all heard people say things like “you’re the product of the 5 people you surround yourself with the most” or “you’re a product of your environment.”
There is certainly truth to these statements. Whether it’s about our bodies adapting to our physical activity, or more easily learning a language when we have no other choice but to use it, we have a unique ability to adapt to the environments we are exposed to.
If your environment doesn’t support your aspirations, you likely won’t see them come to life. And if that’s the case for you, something needs to change.
Maybe that means you need to have a sit-down with family, roommates, or friends and talk to them about what you’re trying to do, and how they can support you in it. Just a heads up, this will be a defining moment for your relationships. You may discover that you didn’t have what you thought you had.
For example, one of my clients, who we’ll call Mary, would go to happy hour every day after work with her friends. After finding her why and figuring out what was truly important to her, she made the decision that she didn’t want to drink as much anymore. She felt that the frequency of the drinking really didn’t add much value to her life. She told her friends that she wouldn’t be drinking as much. She’d still go to happy hour when she could.
Over time, her friends made more and more comments about her being “boring”. They invited her to happy hour less and less.
What Mary soon discovered is that she didn’t have friends in those people. They were simply her drinking buddies.
When you change your environment, it shakes things up a little. Be prepared for change, and remember your why. It will be worth it.
I must say this, though. Do not become the person that demands everyone lives their life according to how you want to live yours. Don’t have a stick up your butt about it. Simply share your heart with those around you.
There are also other ways your environment may need to change. Perhaps you have a TV in your room and that impacts your sleep and sex life with your spouse. No more TV in the bedroom. Maybe you sleep with your phone next to your bed, and that encourages you to scroll for the first 30 minutes of your day. Now your phone will stay outside of your room at night.
We do what we are wired to do. And our behaviors wire us by becoming habits. If your environment doesn’t change, your behaviors won’t and if your behaviors don’t change, your habits won’t.
No matter where you’re at, I encourage you to implement even just one of these strategies this week. If you are super intentional about it, it will change your life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam is a fitness professional, baseball fan, and cookie fanatic based in Fort Worth, TX. After hanging up the cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. As an experienced certified coach that is always expanding his horizons, he is constantly moved to help people improve in all walks of life.