It’s February and that means 80% of you have already failed your New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe the goal was a shitty one and not that important anyway. More likely, it was something you really wanted to achieve, you just didn’t prioritize it properly and create the correct habits required for progress.
So, you are already off track 6 weeks into the New Year. What should you do? Wait until a few weeks before summer then go hardcore into your fitness program? Push eating right until next year, then finally make that change? Wrong and wrong! Get back on it now!
Remember, we are after long term, compounded progress when it comes to bettering ourselves. What we do today to improve is far more important than how far we are from a goal. As James Clear states in Atomic Habits, “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or the day before. What matters is what happens today, tomorrow, the following day, and so on. Clear also states that goals are fantastic to set the direction, but “the systems we put into our lives are where real progress lies.”
What happens if we get off track one day, after a few weeks, or never even get started at all? Have a short term memory. The past doesn’t need to foreshadow our future. Move on and make the changes you need to do today. If you miss a day of your habit or the system you’ve implemented to achieve your goals, that’s okay. Move on and get back to them the next day.
Many have the issue of wanting to create systems that align with their goals, but (fill in the blank excuse) keeps getting in the way. Ask yourself, what is more important to you and is this going to lead you closer to your goal? If it’s not, then it needs to leave your life to allow for an open slot for a positive habit. In Essentialism, author Greg McKeown states, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” In other words, your day is likely filled with a whole lot of shit that doesn’t truly matter. If being a healthy weight is important to you, then name all the things you do on a daily basis that either (1) get in the way of that goal or (2) are taking up time needed to work towards that goal.
Here’s a simple test for many of us who don’t have enough time to cook for ourselves and/or exercise daily. For one day, log every minute spent aimlessly on social media, browsing the internet, or watching TV. The vast majority of you will come up with a number large enough to fill in a number of healthy activities each day. Yes, a CrossFit class takes an hour, but doing as many squats, pushups, and situps you can do in 10 minutes takes only 10 minutes. You have time to exercise. You have time to cook. You need to prioritize and create positive habits over the bad, immediate reward habits that you’ve already created.
Constantly question the habits and actions you take daily. Ask yourself if this aligns with your goals and the person you want to be. “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no “ McKeown states. “There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.” Whether your bad habits, actions, or failures were in the past or the inevitable mistakes to come, never give up on yourself.
Remember, as stated above, we are after our trajectory, not immediate results.
Remember winners and losers have the same goals. Simply worry about today. What will you do today to put you on a path to your goals? Will you win the day or be a loser?
(1) Luciani, Joseph. “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” US News. Dec. 29, 2015. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail
(2) Clear, James. “Atomic Habits.”
(3) McKeown, Greg. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.”