The year 2019 is well underway and, as we nostalgically scroll through the month of January on our smartphones, we once again feel the need for a “fresh start.” The deep desire to feel whole again, to not surround ourselves with things that make us feel lesser, is such a powerful force. That great, peaceful sensation that touches us in the deepest places of our hearts manifests itself every January.
Once again, through the power of self-reflection and silence, we are given self awareness, a spiritual radiance and mental clarity, that inspires us to filter through and lock away those mistakes that we made throughout the previous year. Our doubts, anxiety, and that need to feel less fragmented and validated, to be more connected with our hearts, bodies, and minds is here. Implementing a change is never a waste of time. To keep that from happening, we need to set our minds on realistic and attainable goals. According to Dr.John Norcross, psychology professor at Scranton University, “Changeology helps you understand, implement, and continue goals on your own.”
Eight years ago, a simple new year’s resolution helped me become a long-distance runner. It took me to a happy place where I was able to discover a new and positive world. When I first started my training, I dealt with many challenges, not the least of which was physical pain. Regardless, I was drawn to train the very next day. This new beginning brought me better health, with physical and mental strength. It provided me with the key to strengthening my self-confidence.
We might want to change things up, but have no idea where to start. Most Americans will unsurprisingly set optimistic goals for this new year, with hopes for a happier and healthier “us.” Big goals can feel overwhelming, especially if they require a huge change in our lifestyles. We are creatures of habit. We love routine and procedure. Everything seems like an option. We fear stumbling through our first steps toward a new goal and, if we are not careful, quietly retreating back into old habits.
Start making changes in small increments.
As we start working on our resolutions, we cannot seem to ignore that inner voice reminding us that more than half of all resolutions fail. Changing behavior is not an easy task, but let us not give up so easily. As we all know, motivation is short-lived, and staying on track can be one hell of a struggle. It is critical that we take one step at a time. After all, a year is 365 days. Over time, it is human nature for our daily habits to evolve and shift, but having a strong will helps us work hard and keep us moving forward. One step at a time.
As always, each time we start a new project, we tend to have the best intentions, but it is easy to fall off the wagon if our hearts are not in it, or if our family and friends are breaking their own resolutions. When setting goals, be sure that they are very specific. Focus, get organized, and think about the steps you will need to take to reach the finish line. If we try to do everything all at once, if we try to go from point A straight to point Z, we will fail. We need to have a map, with checkpoints along the way.
It is better to set our minds on the nearest checkpoint, a smaller victory on the road to our goal, rather than just focusing on the end result the whole time. Nobody thinks about the finish line of a marathon when they are just starting the race. They focus on finishing the first mile, then the second, the fifth, and so on. One mile at a time. One step at a time. Some people can finish the race without slowing down or taking a break, but others need to slow down and catch their breath before moving on. This is not only okay, but encouraged.
Relax! Take a deep breath! We all need to take a break sometimes. If you slip, do not get stressed and beat yourself up. Pick up where you left off as soon as you can. Giving up takes energy. So, let us instead put that energy to better use. We can inspire ourselves and others with our determination.
Ultimately, perseverance is the key to success. Your friends and family do not want you to give up on your resolution. Neither do I. Does anyone ask a runner who just finished a huge endurance race whether they stopped to take a break? No! There is not a special category for runners who finished the race without stopping and those who did. All that matters is that they finished the race. So, be patient, and keep on pushing towards the things that you want most in life. You got this!