“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Every January plenty of people set resolutions and goals to move ahead, become a changed person, develop in all kinds of ways and much more besides.

Many think back upon the last 365 days and consider what ‘might have been’ and resolve that the upcoming 365 will be completely different. This will be the year. “New Year, New Me,” right?

Unfortunately, a few weeks into the New Year, when the dust has settled after the initial euphoric energy we were endowed with when the clock chimed midnight on January the 1st, things seem harder to maintain – our body is aching and adjusting from the gym or new exercise regime, the new diet seems so dull, the new routines are feeling laborious and we are now on the verge of or have already started actively finding excuses for your procrastination. Welcome to the end of January hump. The hump is how many people explain Wednesdays each week, how many of us experience the effort required to keep momentum going; and many of us stop and revert to old ways as the hump seems too challenging to overcome.  

Some see resolutions as a form of “cultural procrastination,” an effort to reinvent yourself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves. They aren’t always ready to adapt and change their habits, particularly bad habits, for the long haul and that is often what accounts for the high failure rate. Another reason is they set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions. This is often referred to as ‘false hope syndrome’ which means that along with the resolutions being significantly unrealistic, they are also out of alignment with the person’s internal view of themselves.

So, what should you do to get over that hump? Here’s a few ideas to keep you on track, keep you driving yourself in the right direction, forging a road that’ll lead to achieving more.

1. Resolutions don’t fail.

When you make resolutions, you have the highest intention of seeing them through. It’s often the behaviours that need to be in place to achieve those resolutions that need an upgrade; you have to change your thinking and “rewire” your brain. Know the impact you wish to create and experience, why you want to achieve your goal and not just what it is. Remind yourself of what is driving the goal, and what purpose it has for you.

Exercising 5 days a week is a good resolution; why do you want to do it and what needs to change within to actually start liking exercise is where your focus needs to be. Find what stops you first. What will make you enjoy it and let it become an easy routine to install in your life?

2. Take small steps.

“I want it all and I want it NOW!”
If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you probably need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. It’s overwhelming for many and will end up being too much to integrate into your life at once and tough (for some impossible) to maintain in any meaningful way.

From the 31st of December to the 1st of January, nothing changes except the calendar date. You are still the same you. Don’t go from ‘procrastinating all the time’ to ‘no procrastination at all’ in an instant.

Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once. Start small. Start manageable. Pick one or two activities to complete on time and gradually move to the others. Drink more water, eat a new fruit and more vegetables every week, read 2 pages every night, walk up a flight of stairs every day. The smaller consistent steps are easier to maintain and thus conquer the hump if and when it arrives.

3. Focus your thinking on new behaviours and thought patterns.

You may well need to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits. When faced with what you don’t want, ask yourself “What do I want instead?” It takes a few times of doing this for the habit to set in. Identify the negative thought, be aware of it, is it a belief or a fact; a belief is a thought you keep thinking over and over again and can be changed, replace this thought with what you would like instead, something more positive and finally, repeat this thought.

You want to repeat the new thought in your mind so that now you are redirecting your energy to a positive thought and creating a new pattern. Every time you think that thought, you are reinforcing it. After a lot of repetition, the old neurons start to disconnect and the new positive thought patterns replace it.

Change does not happen overnight and unfortunately, there is no magic pill you can take to see results instantaneously. It takes effort, time, commitment and perseverance, but with anything in life, these are the key ingredients to successfully make the changes and achieve what we desire. Couple the new thinking patterns with your resolutions and get yourself over the hump with ease of mind.

4. Make a Reverse Bucket List.

Most, if not all of us, have a Bucket List of things we want to do in life, places we want to go, goals we want to achieve, etc. But how many of us appreciate how far we have come?

This Reverse Bucket List is a list of all your goals and achievements accomplished so far. Everything you have done in life and are proud of, put it down on this list. Celebrate your small wins and milestones.

Why is this important?

Knowing you have come this far, overcome so much, achieved so much, gives you the drive, motivation, and energy to continue. Be grateful, be appreciative, and reflect on how far you have come already – it’ll supercharge you up the steep ascent of the hump.

5. Enlist help.

It’s hard to stay motivated and driven when you feel alone. The good news? You are not alone; far from it.

Ask your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. Talk to a coach to help with staying on the new path. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunchtime and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

Finally, forgive yourself. That’s right, forgive yourself if you have procrastinated, or made a few excuses as the hump got hard to tackle – move on, get over it and you’ll be more likely to get going without failure next time around. The research suggests that showing yourself some compassion helps you go forward.

Take consistent action! Relentless forward progress (one of my endurance running mantras). Scale the tough side of the hump by keeping on keeping on, one step after the other and you’ll be on the way down the other side with new patterns, routines and habits firmly installed in your life before you know it.

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” –Thomas Jefferson


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