In the light of the recent change from 2020 to 2021, we thought it’d be helpful to focus on a really common practice – New Year’s resolutions. It’s a subject that ties in so well with being an athlete.
But if you know anything about New Year’s resolutions, you also know people usually struggle to keep them. Have you ever been inside a gym the first Monday following December 31st? (you know, those pre-COVID days) The gym floor is filled to the brim with new members who have made a New Year’s resolution to get their bodies into better shape. It’s an admirable desire. And it’s one that many people can relate to.
If you go to the same gym a month later, you’ll likely see that the gym’s capacity has returned to normalcy. Think about that! Just one month later… it’s a really short period of time. That’s because most people feel one of two things; They either feel their resolutions are unsustainable or unattainable. Possibly both.
Let’s focus on those two roadblocks for resolutions, and find some ways around them. Keep in mind that there are many more aspects to consider when it comes to goal-setting. But, for the sake of time and length, we’d like to just focus on these two for now.
First and foremost, you shouldn’t make a resolution that is drastically different from your habits last year. That will likely result in a resolution that’s unsustainable. Remember that as a human being, you’re a creature of habit. Everyone has habits (good and bad) and they account for so much of our daily activities. Psychologically, our minds find comfort in our daily routines. Just try completely stepping away from them, and you’ll feel the difference. Your mind doesn’t enjoy being away from its comfort zone for a long period of time. So more often than not, you’ll find yourself snapping back into your old habits to give your mind a return to routine.
If you would like to trade some bad habits (ex: being unproductive, unhealthy eating, minimal exercise, being late to practice, not cleaning your room, procrastinating, etc…) for some good ones, make sure that you do it in a way that’s sustainable. If you’ve got a long list, then just start with just a few of those resolutions and give them all of your efforts. Make those new habits a part of you, with deliberation. And if you fall short on execution some days, it’s extremely important that you don’t go down a downward spiral and stop trying.
Not getting down on yourself when you fall short is the most important thing to internalize about this subject. We feel that piece of advice is more important than anything else in this message! Remember that breaking bad habits is a process… not an event. Instead of getting down about not being perfect in your attempts, applaud yourself for making progress. And then get right back on the horse and make some more progress. Trust that your consistent efforts in the right direction will eventually win the day.
You’ll feel a difference on the days when you do achieve your shortlist of resolutions, even if they’re really simple. And once you start hitting them consistently and make them a habit, you’ll feel a bunch of positivity compounding in your favor. Similar to a snowball effect. And that opens the door for you to begin incorporating a few of the other resolutions you may have. And so on.
Starting with a few simple goals is the key to keeping your resolutions, in a sustainable way.
Maybe a resolution feels so far out of reach that we can’t even envision ourselves reaching them… This is a drastic blow to keeping your resolution, because if we can’t even envision ourselves achieving it, then our daily efforts to achieve it feel like they’re without purpose. And if our efforts feel like they’re without purpose, how much longer do you think those efforts will last?
Envisioning yourself to attain your resolution is quite literally giving yourself and your new goals some bearings. It gives purpose to the difficult day-to-day efforts in pursuit of that goal. Without that purpose, those daily efforts feel mundane and meaningless. And you’re gonna need that sense of purpose if your resolution has any hope of being achieved because it’s not like those daily efforts come with appraisal or glory from your peers. And it’s not like anybody else is going to say anything if we just toss aside our personal goal. So what difference does it make, right?
The point we’re trying to make is this — You’re gonna find every reason in the world for you to toss aside your resolution because it’s a difficult process. The best thing you can do to increase your chances is envisioning yourself achieving the resolution. After you do that, those daily efforts have an aim. And that aim is going to keep you in the game when it gets difficult.
To make your resolutions attainable, you need to envision yourself achieving your resolution.
At Patriot Aquatics, we don’t want any of us to “return to routine” with our resolutions. We believe in getting consistently better daily. And we want to foster an environment of growth and success for our aquatic athletes. If any of you need additional help with your personal resolutions, don’t be afraid to speak to your coach or teammates! We’re here for you!
Image courtesy of Pixabay.