RELY ON COMMITMENT, NOT MOTIVATION
With the New Year in full swing, ask yourself: did you make New Year’s resolutions? How is that working for you? A quick Google search of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions indicates that the majority of people are really feeling the pressures of a h
The usual suspects are on the list – lose weight, get fit, cut down on alcohol or give up smoking. So why do so many people make these resolutions and fail to achieve them? Here are a few thoughts on what usually happens when people make resolutions and then, how to avoid these traps to achieve lasting change.
Motivation versus Commitment
When people make New Year’s resolutions, they are usually relying on motivation. Something occurs to trigger an emotion and all of a sudden, you’re motivated to do something in response.
Check out these words of wisdom from health coach Craig Harper (www. craigharper.com.au) and see if they ring true: The trap is that motivation is a shortterm emotion. Sometimes you are motivated and sometimes you are not.
Commitment, on the other hand, is a constant state. Commitment means consistent behaviours, maintaining standards and a non-negotiable mindset. Unlike motivation, commitment is not fleeting, wavering or unpredictable.
People who rely solely on the heightened emotional state of motivation to produce long-term positive change rarely succeed because their choices, actions and results are invariably determined by their ever-changing level of motivation. That is, their level of excitement, enthusiasm and focus on a given day. Some people will spend their lives at the mercy of their unreliable emotions rather than exploring their potential and possibilities via their strength, courage and conviction. Stopping and starting but rarely getting the job done over the long term. Thinking, planning and intending their way to nowhere in particular.
When you are totally committed to your dreams, goals and values, your day-to-day level of motivation will be irrelevant and unimportant.
Here are some typical ‘resolutions’ that are made by many people every year: I’m going on a diet I’m going to get fit I’m going to cut down on alcohol I’m going to give up smoking I’m going to lose weight.
When people make these resolutions they usually vigorously launch themselves into some sort of ‘program’ such as a detox diet or six week exercise program, seeking a quick fix to solve their perceived problems. In time, the program ends, the shortterm emotion of motivation begins to wane, life gets in the way and the goal is not achieved. This makes you feel as though you have failed and you quickly return to your old habits and any changes made are lost or do not occur at all.
If you are unhappy with your physical health, it has probably taken quite a long time for you to get into this situation. So when you decide to make a change, why should you expect or demand a quick fix or instant results? You must be realistic and patient. You have to make a commitment – and this takes effort and time. Transformation starts with our thinking, choices, behaviours and habits. If you want improved physical health, you need to consistently make healthy choices and behaviours part of your normal lifestyle. Once these become automatic and habitual, you have started the process of lasting transformation.
Here are some simple tips on healthy choices and behaviours when thinking about improving your physical health and fitness: 1. Explore your potential and describe what success looks like in a way that is meaningful to you. 2. Write down why and what you want to change about yourself and how you will do this. 3. Make a commitment to yourself and include some non-negotiables. 4. Start with small, achievable and sustainable changes, but apply these changes consistently and keep progressively adding to them over time. 5. Keep track of your progress and be accountable to yourself and/or someone else. 6. Seek out and talk to people who can help you to start embracing healthy habits as being normal and lifelong, rather than unusual, short-term or program based.
Improved physical health and fitness is achievable if you are prepared to do what is required. The question is ‘when’?
“What is best for people is what they do for themselves.” Benjamin Franklin.
When people make New Year’s resolutions, they are usually relying on motivation. Something occurs to trigger an emotion and all of a sudden, you’re motivated to do something in response.’
Lauretta Stace is Chief Executive Officer of Fitness Australia.