Happy 2017: A Time To Reflect
by Mauro Quattrociocchi
I have never been one for New Years resolutions, but recently in talking to a friend of mine, she told me that she loves this time of year because it allows her to look back on the year that was and reflect on the year to come. This got me thinking as well. We all go through December wound up and full of stress. Short on time and overindulging. It almost seems inevitable. The coming of a new year sparks a signal in many people that a change is necessary.
Self Improvement is the the number one New Years resolution but sadly, many people eventually loose the drive and motivation to do what they set out to do. This is evident in places like your local gym and of course your yoga studio. Memberships spike dramatically as people actually take time to reflect on their well being. They are keen on changing their appearance or improving their health but ultimately fall short in sustaining long term success. Why is that? Well, simply put, changing your lifestyle is hard work. It’s not going to magically happen at the ball drop. YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE TIME! Whether it’s loosing weight, or going to regular yoga classes, or maintaining a gym regiment, or quitting smoking, it will take time and hard work. To often our society is only interested in short term immediate success. In my reflections, I have come up with some strategies that might help me keep my resolutions, and hopefully they will help you too. All you have to do is answer 3 simple questions, WHY, HOW, and WHEN
1: WHY : BE SPECIFIC
Part of the issue with resolutions is that many times people are very vague in what they are trying to achieve. “I’m going to loose weight” “I’m going to join a gym” “I’m going to eat healthy”. As nice as all of this sounds, it doesn’t give you a reason for changing. The WHY is crucial. It is the purpose for changing. “I’m going to eat healthier because I eat to much junk food which in turn doesn’t make me feel good about myself” “I’m going to get a yoga membership because yoga makes my body and mind and soul feel great”. Answering the WHY makes you visualize the entire purpose that you want to change.
2: HOW : PLAN YOUR HOW
To often we make up our minds to do something without ever figuring out the HOW. “I’m going to join a gym”. Spectacular. What gym? What are you interested in at the gym? What are you planning to do at this gym? Are you going to have a routine, maybe a trainer? Spend some time delving into the WHY but plan your HOW. Figuring out HOW you will achieve your goals is half the battle. HOW will you incorporate this new facet of your life into your everyday? You can’t just buy a membership and expect that you will go because you’re paying for it. You have to make time in your schedule and really look at HOW you will make it work.
3: WHEN : SET GOALS AND MILESTONES
After you have figured out your WHY and your HOW you need to think about the WHEN. You have lived your entire life living with this thing you want to change, so who says it has to happen overnight? Be realistic with yourself. I could stand to loose 20 lbs. Not because that’s what society expects of me but because I am carrying excess baggage. I want to feel better about myself and maybe feel healthier. Now, I’ve been overweight since birth. That’s a long time. How can I possibly expect myself to shed these lbs overnight? It’s not realistic. Instead, I have set small targets for myself. 2 lbs a week for 10 weeks. That’s still a minuscule amount of time when you look at it in the context of a lifetime, but it is achievable. Similarly, take your WHY and HOW and figure out your WHEN. Remember, you have 365 days until the next NEW YEAR. Use all of that time, not just the first few weeks to achieve your goals.
After you have figured out your WHY and your HOW and your WHEN, one final thing to do is WRITE IT ALL DOWN. Keep it in a place where you will see it everyday. Visualizing your goals helps to keep them fresh in your mind and keeps you motivated throughout the entire year, long after the fad and fashion of midwinter promises have come and gone. Track your success. Nothing is more motivating than achieving something you set out to accomplish. Remember, it is not going to be easy. Accomplishing any goal is hard work, but hopefully with this strategy you will look back on 2017 and say “I accomplished that”.