The following is a guest blog by my friend, Sarah Siders. Sarah is a licensed Master Social Worker and runs her own life consulting business and a client of Kim Ashford Fitness! If you’re interested in learning more about Sarah’s work, visit her website.
If you made a New Year’s Resolution this year and you’re reading this with your resolution still intact, congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming one of the mere 9 percent of people (in the United States) who articulate a resolution and follow through.
If this statistic seems painfully small, just think of all the times you’ve made other goals and quit almost as soon as you started. Some of the main reasons people quit pursuing their goals are the discouragement of not meeting their deadlines or setting expectations for themselves that are impossible.
So what sets the 9 percent apart from the 91 percent? Let’s get in the head of the 91 percent to see what people believe that makes them more likely to quit.
Myth #1: If I don’t meet my goal completely, I failed.
If you’re still focused on hitting your fitness and health goals for the year, chances are you fall into the category of a high-achieving person. While high-achievers tend to accomplish more, they often fall prey to a common thinking trap referred to as “All or nothing thinking.”
It’s the sneaky belief that anything less than 100 percent doesn’t count. It turns out requiring ourselves to be superhuman only sets ourselves up for the very thing we fear: failure.
What’s worse, we can be led to believe that not achieving a goal perfectly indicates something is wrong with us.
Instead of the black-and-white view of achievement as either “success” or “failure,” use the 80/20 rule to evaluate your effort. If you’re not meeting your goals consistently, it’s likely that there something wrong with your expectations, not you.
If you’re meeting your goals for fitness and nutrition 80 percent of the time, this becomes the new success standard, taking into account that while life happened and it prevented me from keeping my commitment 20 percent of the time, I am proving my commitment to myself with the 80 percent.
Myth #2: I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
It may seem like rest, sleep or taking a day off are signs of weakness, laziness or lack of commitment. But the intelligent use of rest is an essential element to meeting your health and fitness goals.
During sleep or on a recovery day, your muscles are doing anything but resting. In fact, your body uses this time to repair and build muscle. Without this critical component of your workout routine, you will not see the results you want by your deadlines, and worse, you may get injured or burned out and quit all together.
So instead of telling yourself, “Rest is doing nothing,” try reminding yourself, “Rest is allowing my body to do a different kind of work.”
Myth #3: If I look like I’m having fun, I’m not working hard enough.
Really? What isn’t fun about getting fit, feeling more energetic and confident, making visible progress and proving to ourselves that we are committed? Everything about that is fun.
It doesn’t mean there isn’t pain and sweat involved. In fact, it’s the pain and sweat that make your progress worth celebrating. Talking about how much agony you’re in or telling yourself you’re miserable doesn’t prove that you’re more committed. In fact, it might actually limit what you’ll accomplish.
When you hit a milestone on your fitness journey, stopping to celebrate by acknowledging your progress to yourself and others around you is a way to encourage yourself to keep going.
Sure, it’s all about the destination, but the only way there is the process. You might as well enjoy it.