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NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS, SAME RESULT? REVAMP YOUR RESOLUTIONS!

By Muhilan Kandhasamy
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RESOLUTION: A FIRM DECISION TO DO OR NOT DO SOMETHING; THE ACTION OF SOLVING A PROBLEM, DISPUTE, OR CONTENTIOUS MATTER.
“New Year New Me!”Time to turn over a new leaf and FINALLY reach those goals you’ve set the past 8 years in a row! During the holiday season between November and January, the majority of our daily behaviors shift; and more likely than not, it isn’t for the better. Overindulgence on delicious, butter soaked, sugar loaded foods, stressed over purchasing the holiday gifts everyone “needs”, end-of-the-year business crunch time, and not to mention spending the week with the in-laws. It is basically a giant pile of crappy circumstances and behaviors that keep growing and growing until you either crack under the pressure, or find a reason to change…oh wait, New Years Resolutions!

When we develop our goals, our largest flaw is our inability to be specific.

“I want to exercise more” vs. “I want to exercise at least 3 days a week”

“I want to lose weight” vs. “I want to drop 20 pounds and feel great.”

“I want to eat better” vs. “I want to cut out my morning muffin and late night sweets”

“I want a better relationship with my partner” vs. “Every week I will plan a special meal and date night with my love”

“I want, I want, I want…”

We want all of these huge changes to happen without even contemplating any sort of action step, or even giving a measurable outcome benchmark! We are fixated on setting these long term, miraculous celebrations in the back of our imagination; but that is usually all they ever become. Don’t think I’m trying to single anyone out here, I am 100% victim here too. We are like a kid in a candy shop with our eyes wide and drooling, imagining what we believe we will become or achieve by next December. However, sitting there googly eyed wont get you there, so you better put on your big girl (or boy) panties and get ready to do the work!

I found a conducted study from the Statistic Brain Research Institute on New Years Resolution statistics; some numbers may seem coming, while others a bit unexpected…

Top 10 Resolutions for 2017

  • Lose Weight / Healthier Eating ———– 21.4%

  • Life/ Self Improvements ——————– 12.3%

  • Better Financial Decisions ———————— 8.5%

  • Quit Smoking ————————————— 7.1%

  • Do More Exciting Things ————————– 6.3%

  • Spend More Time With Family / Close Friends- 6.2%

  • Work Out More Often—————————— 5.5%

  • Learn Something New on my Own————— 5.3%

  • Do More Good Deeds for Others —————– 5.2%

  • Find the Love of my Life ————————– 4.3%

It is not too surprising that the top 2 goals are focused on developing a better human body for ourselves. But what came to a surprise to me was how many of us fall short in the long run:

Maintenance of Aspirations

  • Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions ——————-41%

  • Percent of people who felt they were successful in achieving their resolution — 9.2%

  • Percent who have infrequent success ———————————————— 48.4%

  • Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year ————— 42.4%

Length of Resolutions

  • Resolutions maintained through first week– 72.6%

  • Past two weeks ———————————— 68.4%

  • Past one month ———————————— 58.4%

  • Past six months ———————————— 44.8%

Elaboration of the statistics is not really necessary; they can pretty much speak for themselves. A small fraction of people actually have success of completing what they “aim” to achieve. Lack of time, becoming busy, losing focus of our why, or even forgetting the goals you set in the first place! If you want to give yourself the best possible chance to finally make a difference, rather than blowing smoke about it, then you have landed in the right spot!

AVERAGE PEOPLE HAVE GREAT IDEAS… BUT LEGENDS HAVE GREAT EXECUTION
Without going through proper preparation, you won’t be able to stick to that clear cut path you were hoping to find, and that goes for anything. If you wanted to hike part of the Adirondack Trail, but you didn’t pay attention to any trail markers along the way; leaving you lost in the deep woods without an avenue to find where you need to go. I am very new to setting quantifiable outcomes and REAL goals (rather than just “to-do” items) but I have found a lot of success by adopting what the greats do. If there is anything to start with, my first piece of advice is to watch what successful people spend their time with, and do what they do! It isn’t an accident they are where they are, it is [usually] through consistent dedication to the craft they aim to master, and having to throw away habits that don’t match up with their vision.

Elaboration of the statistics is not really necessary; they can pretty much speak for themselves. A small fraction of people actually have success of completing what they “aim” to achieve. Lack of time, becoming busy, losing focus of our why, or even forgetting the goals you set in the first place! If you want to give yourself the best possible chance to finally make a difference, rather than blowing smoke about it, then you have landed in the right spot!

AVERAGE PEOPLE HAVE GREAT IDEAS… BUT LEGENDS HAVE GREAT EXECUTION
Without going through proper preparation, you won’t be able to stick to that clear cut path you were hoping to find, and that goes for anything. If you wanted to hike part of the Adirondack Trail, but you didn’t pay attention to any trail markers along the way; leaving you lost in the deep woods without an avenue to find where you need to go. I am very new to setting quantifiable outcomes and REAL goals (rather than just “to-do” items) but I have found a lot of success by adopting what the greats do. If there is anything to start with, my first piece of advice is to watch what successful people spend their time with, and do what they do! It isn’t an accident they are where they are, it is [usually] through consistent dedication to the craft they aim to master, and having to throw away habits that don’t match up with their vision.

BUY A JOURNAL

When I took my taijiquan & meditation course last year at Cortland (yes, I am compact taijiquan certified…so don’t mess with me yo) we were required to purchase a journal. The intent for it to be used during each day, especially after meditation. I didn’t use it regularly, like maybe 3 times the whole year. But, I never got rid of it, so when I began here at Orca, Ken inspired and guided me to make it a part of my daily routine, and I have been absorbing the benefits ever since. Since then, I have had measurable improvements on my professional development, physical confidence, execution, mental clarify, a clear focus, and others to boot. Who would have thought? Just by writing down some of the gazillion ideas or thoughts we have each day can have a profound impact on your lifestyle.

A study published on the Impact of Journaling to College Students’ Self-Efficacy and Locus of Control wanted to find the influence of it for personal development.

“RESEARCH ON COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY INDICATES THAT JOURNALING CAN HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON INDIVIDUALS’ SELF-GROWTH AND INTRAPERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS. THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY IS TO EXAMINE THE IMPACT OF CLASSROOM-BASED JOURNALING ON STUDENTS’ SELF-EFFICACY AND LOCUS OF CONTROL. RESULTS REVEALED THAT SELF-EFFICACY SCORES FOR BOTH GROUPS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED AFTER THE EARLY JOURNALING ASSIGNMENTS; THESE FINDINGS INDICATE THAT JOURNALING MAY HAVE IMPORTANT PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS ABOVE AND BEYOND ITS EXPECTED ACADEMIC AND COGNITIVE OUTCOMES.”

t can be a very valuable tool as an outlet to open up to if you don’t have someone to turn to, or a running log of your thoughts, beliefs and aspirations. We commit so much time to things for others, and often do not allow ourselves time to be simply to our thoughts. It doesn’t need to be ritualistic by any means, BUT, it should be done with consistency, pure honesty, and with the intent to make a difference. You will develop your own system that fits what you are aiming to achieve, but here are a few things to get you started!

Use it to keep yourself accountable
Set realistic outcomes with measurable checkpoints
Look back to reflect on your personal journey
Free write, doodle, anything you want to let out, just do it…it is your safe space

CLEAN OUT YOUR CABINETS
We all had that shitty package of bugles and microwave dinners lingering in our kitchen, just mocking us and our positive choices. The only way you will commit nutritional blunders is if you put it within reach! Sure, if you are invited to someones house, it would take some audacity to complain about a meal they prepared. Or if going out with a group of friends, nobody wants to be the stickler getting a lightly dressed house salad at a kickass steakhouse. For that reason, it is imperative to do everything under your control to make the best, conscious decisions when you can. Just the other day I felt myself having a gnarly sweet tooth craving, rummaging around the bakery section of a local store. After one or two laps, I had enough time to recognize I really didn’t want that in my body, I just wanted temporary mouth pleasure. Rather than settling on something, I mosied on over to the produce and picked up some blueberries. Same sweet effect, but without the crap to keep your belly happy.

If you are looking to find a great starting point or reinforcement for beneficial food intake, it is time to take out the trash. The sugary beverages, unnecessary ’empty’ carbohydrates, that Blue 40 & Yellow 10 crap… you know those things. If you are having trouble deciphering the good from the bad, use this as a guide; if it wasn’t available to be found or eaten years and years ago, there is a strong chance your body won’t need it. Determining the difference between “I need a ham and mayo sandwich” and “I want a ham and mayo sandwich” is imperative to become more conscious about why we think we need certain foods. I’m not saying you have to be a bonafide health crusader to make huge chances in your gut and bodily health (at first), simply become present when it comes to the most common and important decisions of the day; what fuel we choose.

REIGNITE RELATIONSHIPS
With a spouse, an old friend, with your children, a best friend, even with yourself, we are mammals that love connection and camaraderie. The laughs, stories, love, passion, and togetherness of who we surround ourselves with become a part of who we are. It has been said you are most like the 5 closest ones you spend time with, and I think it is entirely true! Think about when you were younger; you emulated your parents and learned so much of who you are from them. And then having friends that were all like minded with interests, activities and imagination. The more people we come in contact with, the more diversified our outlook and personality can become. We ultimately rely on the ones around us to influence who we are as individuals, so why not make them that much more important? I know I have one friend in particular that had a profound impact on my childhood that I haven’t seen consistently in so many years. A few times we connected, but the excuse of “I’ll talk to him soon” or, “I should see what he’s up to” fill the place of reaching out.

It would be awesome to catch up with someone you spent so much time with and where they are at today! So in lieu of another year passed with experience and wisdom, why not try and bring someone so important in your previous years to your present ones? Because I guarantee that they have thought the same a time or two.

USE A CALENDAR
We have our phones, computers, and smart watches to do soooo many tasks that help us ‘real life hack’ our days. But, one thing we forgot to keep using was a calendar to plan. The hanging wall calendars, tiny motivational desk ones, pocket planners, and school agenda books were great to help keep us accountable and organized for things we had due, needed done, or important events coming up! Especially now, when we all seem to have 101 things to cover each day, we are prone to forget a few along the way… and some could lead to some not to nice outcomes.
Like persay, forgetting to pick up little Joey from school, a deadline at work, an anniversary, or paying a credit card bill on time. We don’t need to even worry about carrying around a pen and paper, we have technology to help us! On my iPhone, I downloaded a few apps to use to help stay on top of tasks and dates, as well as the calendar that is pre-installed (which has some sweet features too). Google Keep, and Mint Money Management are two great resources that have made a positive switch over the last few months. By adding in ways to be more efficient, not having to remember everything, and setting future events in, my stress has totally decreased. Plus, I have found a nice groove to spread my weekly outcomes to enjoy them as well as give them my best efforts, rather than rushing from one to the next to battle the clock.

We all give ourselves New Years Resolutions in an attempt to find the change we have been wanting to have, but haven’t whole hardheartedly been searching for. It’s time to take a stand in your ability to do whatever you put your mind to, and give it your best efforts. Putting in time, effort, and consistency is a perfect recipe to find the golden ticket we all want to find, but not in a candy bar this time! What do you have to lose? Find a passion for adventure, pushing yourself through challenge, becoming consistent with action and words, and look deeper into yourself with the aspirations you want to achieve. Find your why, and never lose sight of what you want to achieve!

Wishing You Great Health and Strength,

Coach Sean