For many people, starting a new year means creating a new you or at least improving the old one. January first becomes about a reinvention and creating new, healthier habits. What it’s really about though is getting back to the foundation and fundamentals of living right. However, some people get so far off track that they’re not even sure what those fundamentals were. For starters, you can break them down into three basic questions to ask yourself…WHY…HOW…WHAT?
It is the underlying reason you try and strive to be better. It is the core of your existence and the root of what really motivates you. When deciding on your next fitness, financial or personal goal, you should first ask yourself WHY you want it. WHY do you want to lose weight? WHY do you want to be rich? WHY do you want to be a world champion? Be sure your answer is truthful, sincere and rooted in powerful emotion. If the thought of achieving it doesn’t make your heart sing or your blood boil, you may be missing the mark. For instance, if becoming a world champion is your goal and your WHY is because everyone will think you’re a badass, that may not be strong enough to motivate you when the going gets tough because it’s simply not emotional enough. Sure, being BA is goal-worthy, but it’s also prideful and it’s kind of trite. Shallow goals won’t make you dig deep. If, however, you want to be a world champion to take care of your Mom, who raised you on her own, sacrificed everything for you and you want to pay her back, that’s real! Or maybe you want to provide for your kids and be able to give them things you didn’t have growing up and have them look up to you, respect you and want to be like you because of it. You want to personally and profoundly feel the innate pride and self satisfaction that comes with achieving “champion” status against all odds. Now THAT’S emotional. That is something worth fighting for. Having a strong, meaningful WHY is the crucial first step.
Next, is having a clear goal and, at least an idea of how to get there. Knowing your destination without a general plan of action, is like wanting to get to a very special, secluded vacation spot without a map or GPS. You don’t have to have an exact roadmap. When you’re close and zeroing in, there will be signs that let you know you’re moving in the right direction. You just have to be sure you are driving a reliable vehicle and know what direction to start out going. If it’s a new workout plan, a schedule change that will allow you to hit the gym more regularly, the idea of staying late two nights a week to work towards a job promotion or buying a box of candy once a month to improve your marriage, whatever the plan is, you have to have one.
Keep in mind though, that having one route and one route only can sometimes lead to disappointment. Life, careers and wants take many different twists and turns that are unexpected and sometimes discouraging, but as long as all roads lead to the end goal, that’s all that really matters. Be willing to change your plan if it’s not working. Don’t just abandon your goal.
This is the final piece of the puzzle. WHAT you’re willing to do, give up or endure to achieve your goal is a critical question to ask yourself. If losing weight is your goal, you may be giving up soda, late night binging, partying, chocolates, a variety of indulgences or any number of cravings. If you’re WHAT is “I’m willing to do whatever it takes, I am willing to give up watching TV, I am willing to spend more time in the gym, at work or with my family, they all make your WHAT stronger and your “but…” weaker. Your WHAT will help you eliminate those excuses that start to creep up when things get hard.
It all comes down to choices and what’s really important to you. Defining, clearly defining WHY you want something, HOW you can reach it and WHAT it will take to achieve it, are your first steps to success
You can set a goal, make a plan and intend to follow-through with it, but you know what they say about good intentions? The road to hell is paved with them. That may be a little extreme, but even if it’s not literally hell, if you’re sacrificing your personal happiness for short term satisfaction or a fleeting moment of feeling good, it may over time feel like your own personal one.
Instead take a moment as this New Year begins and decide what your HOW, WHY and WHAT are. That will, from the onset, put you in control to make a thoughtful decision and a life-changing determination to do better, be better and live life on your terms…as you have defined it.