- Sarah is struggling to lose weight and has been for years
- Every year she makes resolutions and goals but she never sticks to them
- She wonders if she hasn’t found the right diet protocol or supplement
As the new year dawns, many people will be like Sarah – vowing that this is the year they eat better, get fit, commit to self-care… but then the new year’s resolve dissolves before the end of January.
To better understand why our goals and resolutions fail, I invited Tanya Dalton on the show. Tanya is a best-selling author, speaker, and productivity expert. She’s the CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity Co. They provide tools that work as a catalyst in helping people do less while achieving more.
She shared that about 81% of people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions and 23% drop off in the first week alone.
Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
Tanya says that one of the main reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is because we do them in a hurry to meet the deadline of the changing calendar and we don’t spend enough time making sure these goals are aligned with what we want, what we desire in our lives; aligned with your big, bright, beautiful future.
Instead, these goals are a knee-jerk reaction to the time of the year and can often be influenced by what other people are suggesting or doing.
Additionally, we focus on the numbers instead of what those numbers will lead to. For example, with Sarah, she was focusing on the number on her scale instead of focusing on what a healthy lifestyle will afford her in the future. The numbers on the scale this week start to mean a lot less (and create less stress) when you focus on the long term vision of years and decades to come.
Words Matter: Use Empowered Language
All too often when someone is trying to create a new habit, they think of the negative impact of that change. And, their language follows suit. This can contribute to the failure.
For example, dieters might focus on all the food they can’t eat instead of the good food they can eat. Or, they might say, “I can’t eat that” which makes them feel deprived, restricted, and like they have no choice. They no longer own their decision. If they say “I don’t eat that” instead, it empowers them and keeps things positive. Tanya says that our success rate more than doubles when we make this kind of adjustment to our language.
Set Goals with IMPACT
You’ve likely heard of SMART goals. Tanya uses the acronym IMPACT to create powerful goals.
Write goals in the positive (as mentioned above). Be sure to ‘order up’ the results you want to get as your goal. When you really start identifying with what it is you want, it builds endorphins which serve to motivate you. And, the positivity you put out, comes back to you.
Even though Tanya suggests not focusing on the numbers day to day, you do want your goals to be measurable. You can pick whatever measurement you want. It could be something like eating healthy three days out of the week. Or, exercising twice a week. But ,Tanya encourages you to give yourself some grace. Create measurements that allow for an average. This might mean that if you have a goal of drinking 2 liters of water 4 out of seven days of the week. One week you might do it 3 days and the next week it might be 5. Instead of seeing this as having failed one week, see it as being on track for the month, on average. Having measurable goals in this way creates a pattern for yourself and generates a feeling of success.
If you’re going to measure your goals, Tanya suggests using a habit tracker app so you can see your progress.
This goes hand in hand with what Tanya shared earlier about aligning your goals to your big, bright, beautiful future. We want our goals to be bigger than just what we’re doing here today. For example, if your goal is weight loss. You will measure it with pounds but if it’s purpose driven, you focus more on the new habits that set you up for the future you envisioned.
(By the way, if you’re struggling to figure out your purpose, or envisioning your big, bright, beautiful future, have a listen to this episode where Tanya shares her tips on how to tap into this).
Adaptable & Challenging
Tanya likes to talk about these two things together because as we build new habits, we will face challenges. And these challenges require us to adapt. This removes the black and white nature of goals where you’ve either succeeded or failed. When your goals are challenging but with the room for adaptation, you set yourself up for success because you have the flexibility.
Another way to make your goals adaptable but also challenging is to use the MTO methods of setting goals. MTO stands for Minimum, Target, Outrageous. So, when you create your goals, you set the minimum you will accept in executing the goal. And, you also set the target – this is the actual goal – and the outrageous goal when you are shooting for the moon. This method helps keep the perspective that your goals can be met by staying in the MTO range.
Having a deadline with a goal is so incredibly important. Even when goals are ongoing, Tanya suggests setting check in dates. These check-ins can either motivate us because we are on track (and possibly allow us to push the boundaries a bit more by adjusting those goals), or remind us of the importance of the goal and give us a chance to get back on board or realign the goal.
These check-in dates provide a pause in our busy lives. It gives us time to ask:
- How am I doing?
- Do I like where I am?
- What do I think I want?
- How am I doing emotionally, physically, and mentally?
Stay Focused on the Priorities
Life gets busy and we can sometimes say yes to things that make us even busier (often out of fear that the opportunity will disappear). But, if you want to succeed with your goals, you have to really question what you say yes to and assess what will slip on the priorities list if you add new things in. So, it’s important to do a gut check – really listen to what your body is telling you about the opportunity and the shift in your goals.
Make Time for the Things that Matter
Our tasks tend to fill the time we allow them. If we don’t make or find the time for the things that matter to us, the time will be used elsewhere. So, Tanya says we need to block off the time and count it as sacred. She also reminds us of the power of words, so avoid saying ‘I don’t have time’ because you’ll start to believe it and it will become the truth. Instead, when someone asks for your time, say something like ‘it’s not a priority for me right now,’ or ‘I have committed that time to my family’ (or whatever you’ve committed to).
Build Your Own Support Team
Make sure the people around you understand the importance of your goals so that they grant you the time you need. Ask them to support you by being a team member. Tanya says this is especially important to do if you have a family. And finally, let go of perfectionism so that you can truly accept the help and support that is offered without any limitations.
In Sarah’s case, we discovered that the work was really more in mindset than the actual plan. So to start, I helped Sarah work on being mindful about replacing words like ‘can’t’ with ‘don’t’ when it came to things like gluten and sugar. We also worked on phrases like ‘have to’, ‘must’ and ‘should’ as they can be very negative and instead focused on using words like ‘get to’ or ‘want to.’
We came up with goals but also went deeper to look at why she wanted those goals, the real underlying reason why and put specific time periods to them. The result was that she felt a lot less overwhelmed.
We then focused on releasing some of her limiting beliefs around needing to be perfect and feelings of not being good enough. Did you know these beliefs are very common in many people dealing with autoimmunity?
We used the dot exercise on her limiting beliefs. This is based on EMDR principles where we go deeper into the subconscious mind to help release some of those beliefs and replace them with the more positive versions. This is one of the exercises that I teach in the Hashimoto’s module of my personalized thyroid course.
The last step for Sarah was to work with a coach on a weekly basis.
Sarah was amazed at the shift she felt after doing all of the mindset work. She never realized the role her beliefs were playing in her past failures. This along with a solid plan, made a huge difference and 5 months later, she’d lost 40 pounds and is feeling great!
Eliminating Health Mysteries
For Sarah we were able to find those beliefs that were stopping her from achieving her goals and live a healthy life. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life?
Thanks for Listening
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