Many folks in the coaching, teaching or instructing world jump on the opportunity of the New Year to let their students and potential students know that ‘its just another day’ or that ‘ resolutions don’t work’ etc. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that resolutions don’t work in the vast majority of cases.
But this is only true If we view these goals and objectives through a certain lens.The lens of long term change or persistent change in habit. Although this can work for some people, for a larger number it is simply a way to set ourselves up to fail.
For many people the new year is an opportunity to set goals; these could be to lose a little bit of weight, to learn a new skill or to devote more time to things that make us happy. All of these goals are great, but people often approach them with an outlook that sets them up to fail looking at them as permanent and as things that must be adhered too for the coming year.
I believe there is a MUCH better way to approach goal setting, new skill acquisition or weight loss and that is to set your goals, but only view them as the goal for that given day. This extreme short term goal setting is something that is rarely attempted but I have found to be extremely fruitful, especially for students who struggle to maintain focus in the long term.
The way this process works is that you may set a long term goal, let’s say to “learn & practice a new Qi gong set every day for 2 months”. But looking at it in its entirety throws up barriers before we even start … we immediately start thinking, “Oh but what about that birthday later this month, or that weekend away in 40 days time!”
Instead of thinking in this long term way, I ask some students to change the approach “today I am going to do 20 minutes of Qigong” and go and do it. The next day, they say the same, and the next, and the next. If for any reason you miss a day, pick the goal up again the day after! This way you did not ruin a 60 day streak, you only ruined one day out of a 1 day streak. Before you know it you have done 60 days anyway!
This approach to new years resolutions can be applied to any area, from adjusting your diet one day at a time, to going for a run or walk each day.
For those who persistently struggle with New years resolutions and goal setting. Give this approach a try, it may well be the key to real change.