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Monday
Apr222013

Down with Resolutions (a.k.a. Choose the Concrete Commitment)

What’s the easiest time of the year to create or recharge health and fitness goals? I’d guess most people would say January. The New Year can feel like a new beginning--and maybe our new beginning. It can elicit the emotion and confidence to initiate change (Notice I said “initiate” change!) because it’s a tangible turning point in the calendar that we absorb as our own. That powerful emotional high buoys the belief that we can achieve desired change! But what happens, then, in February, March, or April? The problem with this particular brand of motivation is this: once the emotional high has dwindled, so does our belief in achieving the goal. It’s unfortunately why “resolutions” to change typically end without accomplishing the goal. That leads us to the million dollar question….”How can we stay motivated throughout the entire year?”  

What if we threw out the whole concept of resolutions for a minute? Just chucked it. It’s a fine tradition, yes. I don’t doubt the genuine desire behind them, but in all these years of personal training I haven’t seen resolutions be nearly as effective as another approach. Let me throw out that alternative--one that I have seen spur people toward major change, dramatic transformation, and resilient self-confidence

Instead of a resolution to achieve general health and fitness goals, how about making a  hard and fast “commitment” to a concrete, logistical, honest-to-goodness event later in the year--one that will nicely complement those health and fitness objectives.? An event can be a 5K, a 10K, a triathlon, marathon, or (for those who relish the extreme) events like the warrior dash, Spartan race or Alpha Showdown.

At first glance, what runs through your mind? Pride? Panic? Your goals made manifest? A clear-cut deadline? The calendar counting down to an actual performance that you would work hard to be ready for? There’s undeniable power to an actual, anticipated event. Never underestimate the influence of the imminent. It can keep you on track performing the very behaviors that will lead to those bigger goals. 

To explain why this works, let’s look at the difference between making a resolution and making a commitment. A resolution marks “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.” On the other hand, a commitment means “a pledge or promise; obligation.” Think about the differing shades of personal responsibility between the two.  

A resolution helps us “determine the course of action” but fails to invoke the same emotional tie as making a commitment does. It’s because determining the process, or course of action to achieve a goal, is not the same as making the “obligation” or “promise” to achieve it! When people “promise” or make an “obligation,” it puts their credibility on the line. And maintaining our credibility has a huge impact on motivation.   

Credibility is best described by Steven M. R. Covey as a combination of Character and Competency. Character is a combination of intent and integrity. Competency is a combination of capabilities and results. When you state your intent and follow through with it, your actions increase the Character side of Credibility. If your actions create the result you want, it increases the Competency side. When you achieve both character and competency, it not only builds Credibility but also something Covey calls “Self-Trust.” When you increase your “Self-Trust”, it increases your adherence to your goals and will have a lasting impact on the overall confidence and motivation you experience to achieve any goal you commit to in the future! 

 To bring it all full circle now, one of the best ways to increase Self-Trust is to set small, attainable goals (like routine and events) and to make sure that you achieve them. In the beginning, it could be something as simple as scheduling a specific time of day you’re going to exercise. Once you put a few days together, then you move on to a few weeks, finally making it a habit. As a result, your confidence will increase and sense of competence will grow. The idea here isn’t to set enormous, lofty goals but to gradually build credibility by simply showing up for yourself. Do what you say you’re going to do. Congratulate yourself on it.

When you’re ready, consider taking on a more involved but steady commitment--perhaps something like T.E.A.M. Weight Loss. Over time, challenge yourself with bigger commitments. Think about signing up for an event like a charity walk or race. Put something concrete and visible on your calendar, and you’ll have something clear to work toward. With that process, the larger progress toward your goals will become inevitable. You'll enjoy the journey--and the many accomplishments you've created along the way.

Click on the link below and make your commitment known to thousands of people... This will be the first step in living a Healthy Way of Life, looking and feeling the best you ever have! Offer your comments on how you work toward your goals and what commitments have meant for your journey.

Be Strong and Live Long!

http://www.commitmentday.com 

Written by Jason Stella, National Brand Developer-Fitness and Certified Personal Trainer

 This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.


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