Sweat & Smiles: Mid-Summer New Year's Resolution Talk and Why to Focus More on Short-Term Goals

By Melissa Robbins on June 17, 2017 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Where do you stand on your New Year’s Resolutions? 
 
In the middle of summer, you rarely hear people discussing their New Year Resolutions. That’s because, according to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Bummer, right?! 
 
This is where everyone starts to believe they lack motivation and follow through, but that’s simply not true. What if there were a way that you could set and hit your goals - at any time of year? 
 
In many years of research and data, as well as my own experience and that of my clients, setting short-term goals knocks them out of the park almost every time. 
 
Here’s three reasons why those January goals aren’t being thought of:
 
1. You set a lofty, nonspecific goal.
 
The problem with having a year to do something means we have a tendency to say “I’m going to eat healthier”, or “I’m going to exercise more”. But that simple sentence becomes really overwhelming when it comes time to implement a plan to such a broad statement.
 
2. You forget your why.
 
Perhaps the most important piece of the goal puzzle is your intrinsic motivation, that thing that is driving you to want to better yourself. Without a plan or reminder, the overwhelm buries the why.
 
3. You focus on stopping an old action or habit.
 
This, above all, is the most common that I see. People throw all of their energy at stopping an old habit. Giving all of your attention to an old habit has a tendency to just add more smoke to the flames. 
 
So what’s the magic formula for short term goals? 
 
I’m sure you’ve seen the number 21 thrown around a lot, or 30 day challenges, and even six week challenges. Twenty-one became a magic number back in the 1950s when plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz discovered that it took a minimum of 21 days for patients to get used to seeing their “new” selves after a surgery. 
 
In 1960 Dr. Maltz published a quote saying “it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” And since then we’ve come to shorten his quote to: “It takes 21 days to create a habit.” 
 
A study that examined the habits of 96 people over a 12 week period produced results that showed on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic - 66 days to be exact. But that’s on average, the actual range went anywhere from 18 days to 256. 
 
Brian P. Moran, author of The Twelve Week Year doesn’t suggest we only work for 12 weeks a year but that we work in short bursts of 12 weeks. Twelve weeks is long enough to make a profound change and short enough that you won’t lose sight of your goals. 
Here’s why a twelve week goal might be the best fit for you: 
 
1. You’ll set a clear game plan. 
 
Having twelve weeks means you’ll start to prioritize, you’ll eliminate distractions, and it makes your goals more urgent.
2. You’ll know your why.
 
Setting a goal for twelve weeks gives you a long enough time frame to hit it and a short enough time frame that you’ll focus on what is really important to you.
 
3. You’ll focus on implementing a new habit. 
 
It’s much easier to say you’re going to do something - and then do it with this kind of a deadline. With priorities in order, limited distractions, and a strong why under your belt, all of your precious energy will focus on the new!
 
More importantly, focusing on short term goals means no waiting for the beginning of the year to get started! In fact, I think halfway through the year is the perfect time to start!
 
Sweat & Smiles,
Melissa


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