Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have successfully made it to 2017! The holidays have come and gone once again. By now, the kids are back at school and most of us have returned to our daily routines.
For many people, a new year signals a fresh start. The turning of the year provides an almost poetic opportunity to stop doing something you had been doing, and start doing something else. This phenomenon is commonly known as the New Year’s Resolution.
And we all know the jokes: “If the gym seems full now, just give it a week or two until everyone fails their resolutions.” The sad thing is, for the most part, there is a lot of truth in it. According to one study, only 8% of people successfully achieve their resolutions.
I can’t promise you that anything I say here will increase your odds of success, but here are a few things to consider on your journey:
1. Do you have a plan?
Whatever your goal is, do you have a plan to help you achieve it? And is that plan sustainable? The second question here may be more important that the first. Too many people try to overhaul their lives with crazy exercise plans or diets that are simply not sustainable. But having a clear and and realistic road map that takes you where you are trying to go and helps creates healthy habits along the way will greatly increase your chance of success.
2. Do you have the proper gear?
An easy example of this is running outside in Maine during the heart of winter. Having the right clothing makes all the difference when it is 35 degrees and raining or 10 degrees with 30mph winds. January, February, and even March can be some of the toughest months to stay motivated in and having the right gear to tackle the cold and darkness is crucial.
3. Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?
The people you surround yourself with may have the greatest impact on whether or not you succeed. Having friends willing to take on a challenge with you can be the extra push you need, but they can also be the reason you fail if they are not as fully invested as you are. Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable and who are not afraid to call you out. You may even want to consider working with a coach. If one of your goals involves running through the winter, check out our free Winter Warriors program in both our Portland and Brunswick locations.
4. Are you afraid to fail?
Sometimes the hardest reason to start something is the fear of failure, so let me ease the burden. At some point you are going to fail. You will find yourself flat on your back looking up at the sky wondering how in the world you can possibly move on. And it’s those moments that define us. You can decide to pack it in and nobody would blame you. Or you can get up, dust yourself off, and keep pressing forward. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
At the end of it all, January 1st is just another day. If you couldn’t decide what your resolution should be or if you’ve already failed your 2017 one, you don’t have to wait for 2018. My college president used to say, “You will not become tomorrow what you are not making yourself today.” So the question you have to ask yourself is, what are you making yourself today?