Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Come clean. Did you? If so, I’m sad to say, you’re probably going to fail. In fact, University of Scranton research suggests that just 9% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Sure, these folks probably didn’t make SMART goals meaning they were doomed for failure from the start. But are SMART goals enough? I don’t think so.
In fact, at least for me, I’ve pretty much stopped making big, grandiose, goals. Instead, I’ve turned my attention to one thing – virtuous habit formation.
As one example, a few years ago I realized I was a heart attack waiting to happen. Heck, watch some old Gemba Academy videos (like this one) and you’ll see I was, um, a little heavier! And check out Paul in that video… he was carrying a few more pounds back then as well!
But, here’s the thing. I didn’t make any big claims like, “This year I’m going to lose weight.” Instead, I asked a good friend, and fellow CrossFitter, if he’d help me with a workout and clean eating plan.
And, now, as I look back, I realize the key to my success was simple. I stopped practicing bad habits, namely drinking soda and eating fast food several times a week, and I started practicing good habits like working out consistently and eating clean.
The other thing I did was start slow. My buddy didn’t have me go all crazy with all CrossFit has to offer right away. Instead, I did short, 3 to 5 minute, workouts 5 days per week. I was learning to form the habit of exercising.
So, here’s the thing. It’s OK to have long range goals. But don’t obsess over them. Instead, obsess about what habits need to change and/or be formed. Once you’ve identified a few get to work. But start slowly.
If you want to run a marathon but haven’t run in years… go for a 3 minute jog this afternoon. Then add 30 seconds every day for a few weeks taking some rest to recover as needed. Slowly but surely you’ll get to where you want to be since you’ll be focused on that next 30 second milestone versus that long, grueling, 26.2 miles!