I kept my 2016 new year’s resolution all year, and I’m going to share with you how I did it, and how you can too! About this time last year, I resolved to attend yoga classes once a week… and I did it all year! Check out the blog post here!
Not only did I keep my resolution of attending once a week, I now attend two classes per week (most weeks) and a personal training session with my yoga instructor Marissa once a week (again, most weeks). So, how did I do it? Well, today I’m going to go through the specific techniques that I used in order to accomplish my goal so that you can try and implement them into your own life!
Here are the four things I did:
I made my goal realistic.
Notice that my original goal wasn’t where I ended up. I started with the smallest, simplest, easiest goal imaginable. Just one class, once a week. I made the threshold for success so low that I couldn’t help but be successful. I established a routine and then allowed each successful week to build upon the last one until I had a yoga habit. Too often we will set goals that exceed our resources (e.g. time, energy, etc.) which only sets us up for failure.
I utilized self-compassion and assertiveness.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I was 100% successful all the time, that I never failed or made a mistake. But when I did fail I reframed it as a learning opportunity and offered myself some compassion. Here’s an example, one week I was unable to make any yoga classes due to my schedule. I had meetings galore. It just wasn’t going to happen. So, I made time for self-compassion and reminded myself that I am human and these things happen. But I didn’t stop there and “let myself off the hook.” When I looked back on the week I realized that I could have very easily made the time for my yoga class if I had been more assertive about my time. Therefore, I let my coworkers know that Mondays from 12:30 to 1:30 I am unavailable. That is yoga time. No meetings. I am lucky enough to have amazing and understanding coworkers and bosses that support my efforts to be healthy so it was easy. But, check this against your own experience, when you are assertive about your rights to be healthy are people respectful and supportive? Or are they disrespectful and unsupportive?
I found out my WHY and my HOW.
In order to achieve a goal, we need both the why and the how. The why is, “Why is this important to me? Why am I willing to experience this discomfort?” For me, the why is all about looking beyond just the health and fitness benefits and at how this goal impacts the rest of my life. How would doing yoga impact my marriage? My family and friendships? My personal development? My work performance? These are the areas of my life that hold value. So, I sat down and did some work to figure out how this goal of doing yoga once a week impacted these areas of my life. Yoga helped me to deal with my stress better which improved my marriage and other relationships, helped me stay more focused on work and helped me to develop spiritually. I used this as my motivation.
The how is, “How am I going to achieve this goal? And who can help me?” Again, I sat down and went to work figuring out how I was going to accomplish this goal. First, I thought about the barriers that could get in my way and how to overcome them. I know for me I always struggle to find an exercise routine that keeps me interested, engaged, and excited. That’s why I started doing personal yoga sessions. These sessions focused on the complex and challenging poses we didn’t do in class. Trying to master these incredibly difficult poses kept me coming back for more!
Next, I thought about the people in my life that would be supportive. Which brings me to my last point…
I got help.
Everyone loves the story of the self-made man (or woman). The person that pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and did it all on their own. However, if you ask any truly successful person they will tell you that it took a team to accomplish their goals. And trust me, accomplishing this goal was no different. I had my wife supporting me and encouraging me. I had my yoga classmates that would stop me in the hall and ask “Are you going to yoga today?” I had my coworkers who, as I mentioned, were supportive of my goal. And I had my yoga teacher. Here’s a picture of us doing one of my favorite poses: Elephant.
That’s how I did it. So, in the words of one of my favorite TV characters of all time, Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation: