It’s the new year and that mean’s one thing and one thing only….. It’s goal setting/resolution time for most (or for 37% of the British population not goal setting time). YES according to a recent survey 37% of us Brit’s decide to abstain from the resolution/goal setting hype.
Us Brits seem to be serial abstainers. But I can’t work out why. The new year serves as a perfect time to improve yourself. The new year serves as a perfect time to regain focus and clarity. The new year serves as a perfect time to get back on top of your health.
It gives you a whole new chance to do something for yourself. To become what you want to become. To create a better version of you. A new year, 365 new days which with consistency can completely change your life. But unfortunately for most of us, despite our best intentions, our new years goals fall by the waste side faster than we were able to dream them up.
We start off strong and then inevitably things start to slip, life gets in the way and we end up exactly where we started. I don’t want that for you and I’m sure you don’t want that either. So I guess the question is, how do we avoid it? Keep reading and I might just let you know.
THE BIG ISSUE
Nope not the magazine but the actually issue. The issue is that we simply try to do too much at one time. Can you recall a time when you have took on too much? Spread yourself too thin? If you are anything like me then you can probably recall multiple occasions.
If you are anything like me you can probably recall multiple occasions every single day. Continuously multitasking and doing many things at once. It’s easy to get carried away, excited and jump on the latest bandwagon. It’s often hard to resist that shiny object, that new thing which is going to make the other things that much better, that distraction.
This is the time of year when we do this like no other time. This time of year is change mental! Change is great and should be encouraged but the problem is that we tend to take on too much which ultimately leads to failure. Failure as a result of poor execution.
New year…..right it’s time to get fit, earn more money, lose weight, save for a new home, get up earlier, spend less time watching tv, get promoted, learn a new language, fly to the moon, win the champions league, etc etc etc…the list is endless.
^^^^^^Well it looks like you are biting off a bit more than you can chew partner^^^^^^
This time of year is particularly prominent for health and fitness related changes. New year…..New me. New year…..New you? You have heard it all before. Well I have a reality check for you. There will be no new you this year. No significant change. No mind blowing transformations. Not unless you stick to this one simple principle.
THE ONE THING
Right what I want to do is be in less pain so I am going to stretch every morning and night for 30 minutes at a time and see my osteopath twice per week but I have also heard that swimming and yoga help so if I do that every week as well that would be good with an occasional trip to pilates. I will take my glucosamine, chrondroitin, omega 3 and collagen every day as well. I think my back is weak as well so I will have to go to the gym a few times a week to get stronger……….
STOP and take a breath. I love your enthusiasm. I love your willingness to change and improve yourself. For a long time I used to do things in exactly this manner. 10 things at a time, bite off much more than I could chew, really get stuck in. But despite my efforts the results were mediocre (at best). I was doing everything, so surely I should have some amazing results.
Well it turns out that quantity does not equal quantity. Sound familiar? Do the things that count. Don’t count the things you do! Specifically for this time of year focus on one thing. Let me use myself as an example.
My fitness related goal for 2016 is to improve my muscle flexibility and joint mobility. Yes they are pretty good anyways (was not always the case – I have had to work very hard on this) but there is a lot of room for improvement. There is always room for improvement. My focus for the current period is my spine.
To do this I am doing one thing. 30 minutes of spinal mobility and flexibility training a day. That is it. I will continue to focus my mobility on my spine until I reach a point where I a happy. Then I will move onto the next thing. Does that mean I have abandoned the rest of my training? No I will still continue to lift weights, get out of breath and punch stuff hard but ultimately my focus is not to improve in any of those areas. My focus is to get more flexible. If the other areas improve as a result of training and my additional work (which they will anyways) then great.
Also does that mean that I will neglect mobility in other areas? No. I will still stretch as I usually do but this 30 minutes of focused spinal mobility is new for this year. The ONE new fitness focus. The ONE thing that matters right now. The ONE thing that will make a big difference.
Does this mean I don’t have other personal goals, business goals etc. Nope I have all of those too but just like this goal, I stick to ONE thing at a time.
Focusing your effort to one thing at a time has multiple benefits.
- You get to the end result a lot faster.
- You do a better job with what you are focusing on.
- You waste less time messing around trying to juggle multiple tasks.
- As the results are coming quicker your motivation to continue along that path is increased. Nothing is worse for motivation than a lack of results.
Sounds appealing doesn’t it? But how do we make things even more specific. Get better results for our time investment. We use Pareto’s law. Pareto’s law states that 80% of our positive results come from 20% of our effort.
So in reality if you can find the one thing you want to accomplish and then find the one thing within that one thing that is going to give you the best results you will be onto a winner in no time. Then go and find the one thing within the one thing within the one thing.
I do this with my patients. I try to find the one area which is ultimately causing the cascade of symptoms elsewhere. The root cause. The one thing which will have the cause the biggest change to the patients symptoms. The results can be extraordinary.
You can do this too.
Just decide where you need to allocate your time and get stuck in. This is the quickest and most efficient way to get to a desired outcome.
SO WHAT NEXT?
It’s time to act. Set yourself ONE health and fitness related GOAL which you are going to tackle over the next few months. Make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound). Apply Pareto’s law and decide where your time will be best allocated.
Then simply go out and get after it. Hire a professional to help if you want to speed up your results further.
Have a fantastic January. Happy new year team!
PS This post was inspired by a fantastic book I read by Gary Keller called The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results
Have a read. It really is a game changer.