“By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character” – Grenville Kleiser
The goal is less important than your actions taken to achieve it. Have daily discipline.
As each New Year begins, resolutions fly like caps at the end of a graduation ceremony. Self-improvement tends to be at the top of the list and in the forefront of every mind, which is great…if used wisely.
Here is the harsh truth: resolutions fail. They fail hard and often. In fact, Forbes discovered that only 8% of people successfully complete their New Year’s resolutions. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but think of it this way:
The whispers begin like clockwork each year around this time, and I’m sure you’ve heard a friend say: “I want to lose 30 pounds by bathing suit season this summer!” They then proceed to sit, heart fluttering with excitement, imagining their future self-looking fierce and confident on the beach in new swimwear, but neglecting entirely any thought about the process.
How will they reach that goal?
This is why resolutions fail. It’s not that goals are too lofty, or that many are incapable of achieving what they set out to, it’s that people often get carried away in the motivation and neglect the process.
Do you know what does not fail? Habits; habits built by daily discipline. Resolutions rely on will power, which is finite. Habits, however? They become ingrained, sub-conscious, and without expiration.
Each morning, do you toy with the decision of whether or not to brush your teeth? No! You have done it consistently for years, and it does not require any thought; it’s a habit. What if walking every morning became that habit? Or food prepping every Sunday afternoon? These things might not get done otherwise because we tend to give ourselves an easy ‘out’ if we don’t want do it.
Be disciplined and don’t give yourself an easy ‘out’ for 66 days (the amount of time researchers at the University College of London discovered it takes to build a habit) and you will take human emotion and impulse out of the decision making process. Humans are habitual, which is both beneficial and harmful. You can both habitually make excuses and struggle reaching your goal, or you can create a positive habit over time and let the culmination of your consistent actions take the wheel and drive you across the finish line as you work on other projects in the passenger seat.
So construct your resolutions. Utilize that spark of motivation spurred by the coming of a New Year or a big event. But write down daily steps to get there; daily steps that are not easily avoidable. These will become habits and you will reach your goals in due time. I would bet that you might even surpass them.
Emily has a Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University, where she studied Clinical Exercise Science and Spanish. She has gained valuable experience working in many different roles throughout the health and wellness industry, including corporate fitness, group exercise, health coaching, chronic disease management, and community wellness. In doing so, she has become extremely aware of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise, and firmly believes that the human body was made for movement. For that reason, she is passionate about empowering others to counteract the negative effects of today’s increasingly sedentary society.