We’re nearing the end of the first month of 2017. Some people are well into their resolutions now, seeing results, learning and extending their personal and psychological boundaries. Some are growing discouraged and dissatisfied with where they are. I’ve written previously about how an overwhelming percentage of people quit on their goals early on. I’ve been there too. Much like I was able to make changes in my life, you can do the same. Make this the year that you don’t give up. The year that you take it all the way and achieve goals that you’ve been fantasizing about for years! Here are 5 things to help you get there.
1- Listen to your inner dialogue. This one is key because with a limiting inner dialogue, chances are high you won’t get very far. It’s akin to driving a car on four flat tires. While chained to a train. When you put limiting beliefs in your brain without challenging them, limiting behavior is what comes out. Like Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”.
Very recently, I smashed through a limiting belief I had that I did not even realize. My wife and I started a nutrition and exercise plan a few weeks ago (I feel better than ever, by the way!). As I was running on the treadmill and approached the 1-mile mark, a voice inside me said “You’ve only been able to run a mile without stopping once in your life. Time to stop now. You’re just not a runner”. A few years ago, I’d have stopped then and there. Not now. I challenged that thought immediately and said “The only person who has ever said I am not a runner is me. I’m running now and I feel great. No way I’m stopping now”. I went on to go two and a half miles and could have gone even farther because I had so much energy. I stopped only to be cautious of my surgically repaired knee which is not used to the pounding. Last week I ran three times and all three times I beat my personal bests in distance and time. I changed my inner dialogue to something positive and that is what I got in return.
2- Change your routine. It’s very easy to stay in routines of comfort. Doing a certain thing at a certain time of day, like sitting on the couch at night watching TV, becomes second nature and we seldom give it any thought. But when you’re stuck and not where you want to be in life, changing routines can jump start us down a path of momentum. Take a look at what you are doing each day and ask yourself if you are spending too much time on it and if it is helping you live the life you want to live. An easy way to do this is to keep a note pad and jot down each task you do and how long it takes. Keep a record for 3-4 days or even a week and then add it up at the end. You may find you are spending hours each day checking email, watching TV or on Social Media, while your goal of writing a book has yet to be started. Once you know exactly where your time is going, you can take some of it back.
3- Eat organic. I mentioned above that I started a nutrition plan this year. Included in it was a three day detox. I’ve read about clean eating and detoxing quite a bit and frankly, I always thought that it was hype. How much better could clean eating possibly make me feel? That often asked question was answered quickly and definitively. Absolutely amazing! At 43, I have more energy than I’ve ever had before. The heartburn that I’ve suffered from since I was 19 has almost vanished completely. I feel clearer, sharper and lighter and that positively affects every aspect of my life. I am honestly blown away by the difference. Much like I said above about the thoughts in your brain, when you put starchy, sugary, processed foods in your body, that is the result that comes out. If you don’t think eating a wholesome organic diet matters much (as I used to), try it for a week and see the difference for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
4- Celebrate your successes. It can seem premature to celebrate when you have not reached your end goal and your journey is still in progress. But it’s not. Besides, why does the journey have to be long or boring? The fact is that you cannot reach the big goals without accomplishing the small ones first. Taking steps and seeing progress is worthy of being acknowledged and it makes the ride a lot more fun. If you are someone who has done much thinking and dreaming but not taken much action, celebrating accomplishments daily is key. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a few minutes to express pride at your progress will suffice. You’ll build the important habits of reflection and expressing gratitude and those are key attributes of success.
5- Be kind to yourself. One technique I use on clients involves working with their inner child. I listen closely to the harsh words they use to describe themselves in their adult form. Somewhere along the line, they lost contact with their inner child and found the unhealthy habit of beating themselves up. When I ask them to envision themselves as a child and listen to the words used to describe that period of life, the vocabulary changes dramatically. The connection is made that they speak to themselves in a way that they would never dare speak to another and the habit is effectively changed. Always treat yourself like you would treat any other child; with love, patience, kindness and compassion. You cannot be your best yourself if you do not treat yourself with love.
Start doing these five things differently this year and you’ll think clearer, use time more effectively, feel better, have more fun and get better results. It’s time to unleash your greatness and make 2017 your best year yet!