Rock Your New Year's Resolutions
Hi! Welcome to this first 2018 training! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Ours pretty much sucked. But, hey, we are in a New Year! So let’s get started.
Ok, so everyone feels an urge this time of year to make some changes and improvements over the next year. We call them New Year Resolutions. Personally, I quit making them a year ago, but I am being more intentional to plan out my vision for next year on paper, divide into 90-day segments and then having 90-day checkups as the year progresses.
Some of you have made or really want to make some changes over 2018. I encourage you to do what I do and get that vision down on paper and put into actionable steps. In fact, I usually for on the ONE THING, I want to accomplish and then I center my focus around that. For example, the year I developed the curriculum for Genius Communication, I did nothing else but work on that. Of course, I had current clients and a family to give attention to. But no outside anything that would distract me from Genius Communication. That’s the best advice I can give you actually. FOCUS ON THE ONE THING.
I want to give you some actionable tips to help you keep your resolutions, but first a story.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Colonel Harland Sanders was fired from many jobs before he started cooking chicken in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930 at the age of 40! Yes, 40. And this was during the Great Depression. He didn’t have a diner so he fed people his chicken in his attached living space.
He used this small beginning to perfect his secret recipe and the pressure fryer cooking method over the next 10 years. He gained fame for his chicken when food critic, Duncan Hines, praised his chicken publicly. But the interstate came through his small Kentucky town and he lost his business retiring on $105 a month pension check.
He knew he couldn’t live off of that so he found restaurants that would franchise his secret recipe for a nickel a piece of chicken sold. He was told no more than 1,000 times before his first partner while driving around the country living in his car. Of course, the rest is history. For Colonel Sanders there was no plan B.
What fascinates me about Colonel Sander’s story is the fact he started so late at the age of 40 and he overcame such incredible obstacles. I’m 44 and if I’m not careful, I can look back on my life and wonder what have I really accomplished and see that I’m not where I think I “should” be by now. Be encouraged that age is not an obstacle. It can be an asset.
Will Power Is a Myth
Will power is a myth. What I mean by that is some believe that you can do anything just using will power and that some have and some don’t. Will power is actually an art and a science that can be learned so you can accomplish your goals for 2018.
Vanessa Van Edwards says that “willpower is a combination of courage, mental stamina, and determination.” People with willpower get more done, are more successful, above average in their abilities, and stand out from the crowd. Instead of skimming Facebook or watching Netflix, they work on their projects, goals, and personal development first. Those with willpower have learned to subdue the PLEASURE SEEKING SELF with the LONG-TERM FUTURE SELF.
Dr. Kelly McGonigal, an expert in willpower, defines willpower “as the ability to do what matters most, even when its difficult or when some part of you doesn’t want to.” That part of you that doesn’t want to is your IMMEDIATE SELF. It wants to maximize pleasure and minimize stress, pain, and discomfort. It’s actually a survival mechanism for our brains. Your brain is about survival and stress threatens that survival so it looks for ways to escape and avoid pain or discomfort.
But you also have your FUTURE SELF, which is the part of you that looks at the big picture, thinks about the long-term goals, and is willing to sacrifice immediate gratification and temporary discomfort to make your future self better even with a lack of results at first. We need both of SELVES to survive. But the trick is to allow the future self to re-train the immediate self into your new changes so there’s an alignment between the two. The brain will then realize that what you’re doing is a good thing. I know this works because my brain NOW tells me when it’s not happy that I’ve not been to the gym. My body literally craves training. That’s the sweet spot where what was once hard is now such a part of you that your brain gets fussy if you neglect it.
And here’s an interesting fact. Vanessa says that in her research she has discovered that “when we are asked to think about ourselves, certain parts of our brain light up. When we are asked to think about our future selves, different areas of our brain light up…the same areas we use to think about other people!” WE TREAT OUR FUTURE SELVES LIKE ANOTHER PERSON.
I.e. we often idealize our future selves to do what our current selves cannot. We procrastinate and yield to temptation. Beware of putting to your future self the changes you can make today. However, it is important to allow yourself to SEE or VISUALIZE your future self in vivid detail. It can help you make better decisions. In one study, non-exercisers imagined a healthier version of themselves. Two months later, those who saw their future healthy self, were exercising more frequently than those who didn’t. In one study I read, athletes who visualized themselves lifting heavier during a training session right before actually lifted heavier than those who didn’t beating their plateaus and previous numbers.
What's Your Motivation
When you make your resolutions, beware of creating them from a place of I SHOULD DO THIS. Many of us see an area where we are deficient or lacking and know we SHOULD do something about it—weight, disorganization, finances, etc. So we make a resolution to go to the gym, organize our home or office, and create and follow a budget. And then a few days, weeks or months later, we are back into the same ruts as the year before and the year before and you get the picture.
These fail because we REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO ANY OF THAT. I.e. those resolutions don’t reflect on what matters to us most and the desire is simply not there giving the brain nothing to hold on to. Dr. McGonigal recommends asking a few questions:
1. What do you want for yourself and your life next year?
2. What is it that you want to offer the world?
3. Who do you want to be?
4. What do you want more of in your life?
5. And then asking HOW DO I GET THERE? WHAT WOULD CREATE THAT AS A CONSEQUENCE?
You then break the answer to those questions into bite size steps. Get your big picture and reverse engineer it down to 90 day segments, weekly segments, and daily segments. Whatever doesn’t align itself with your goal is not to be part of your segments.
What's Your Trigger
The next step is to know the mental traps and habits that might trip you up. For example, if you’re wanting to lose weight and know you’re a stress eater, get your plan on how to combat stress without food. Maybe do a quick tabata workout instead. Make your goodies harder to get. Freeze sweets so it’s more effort to eat them or just don’t have them around you. Get rid of the candy bowl.
Will power has a shelf life. All day long you make a series of choices (over 200 plus just on food choices). Your brain uses calories to fuel all of these decisions. Lack of healthy food causes bad decisions. And by the end of the day, your willpower tank is close to empty. The key? ELIMINATE AS MANY OF THOSE CHOICES AS POSSIBLE.
Some might slip up due to hidden emotional landmines. These are things that happened to us in the past that have created thinking patterns and actions that do not help us. When something similar happens to us, our brain immediate associates the current thing with the past thing and we find ourselves doing what we know we shouldn’t.
I always recommend that when you have an emotional reaction that is very strong or stronger than the action or situation warrants, take a step back and ask yourself why. More than likely the current response is actually addressing a past experience not the current one. I recommend doing the 5 whys meaning you ask yourself why and then ask why to that response and so on 5 times. Usually the fifth time is the answer.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Where do you most often give in?
2. When do you most often give up?
3. What exhausts your will power the most?
Temptation and stress hijack the brain’s systems of self-control. Eliminate both as much as you can. Make important decisions when your will power is full strength. Outsource willpower by having a friend go to the gym with you or ask you pointed questions on your progress. You can replenish some of your willpower by purposeful daydreaming, a catnap or extra sleep or a nice 10 minute relaxing walk. The more you make better decisions, the stronger your will power will get because now your changes are part of your character.
What the Hell
Beware of the “license to sin” or the “what the hell” effect! The license to sin is when you have accomplished a daily goal and then give yourself permission to be bad. It’s the desire to reward yourself for BEING GOOD. This never works. Tie your goals and actions to long-term desires and values, the dream you’re working toward. You can have a cheat meal or reward yourself, but I recommend doing something that won’t harm your goals or only doing it if you KNOW your cheat meal won’t turn into a cheat year. Everything must be in reason.
The WHAT THE HELL effect is when you have failed and decide to throw in the towel and give in. Dr. McGonigal has found that when people forgive themselves for messing up, they get back on track quickly.
1. Write your vision for the year down on paper and break down into 90 day segments with 90 day check-ins throughout the year.
2. Focus on the ONE THING you want to accomplish in 2018.
3. Will power is an art and a science you can learn.
4. Let your FUTURE SELF train your CURRENT SELF.
5. Create your resolution on what you really want and what is most important to you.
6. Identify triggers and plan accordingly.
7. Avoid the LICENSE TO SIN and the WHAT THE HELL effects.