Tis the season to make resolutions . . . and to feel heartbroken when a week – or day – later we already broke them. Why is this? Sometimes we set too high and unreachable goals, and should have broken them down into more achievable mini goals that will lead us to our big goal. Sometimes we create resolutions that are negative punishments instead of positive desires. It is best if your resolutions are positive choices instead of self-attack based on negative self-image. A recent TED talk about the importance self-confidence in success, talks about two other elements needed to achieve our goals and resolutions.
Dr. Ivan Joseph believes self-confidence is not an inherent trait, but instead a trainable skill. Through persistence and positive self-talk, you can achieve not only your new year’s resolutions but all your goals.
Persistence comes down to repetition and overcoming failure.
Repetition: Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” This means to become what we want to become we need to study and practice for 10,000 hours. When you look at your resolution, don’t think of it as one and done, but an effort you need to make over time. How many hours a week or a day are you willing to dedicate to your goal? You don’t have to do 10,000 hours to make a change, but you do need to commit to a dedicated amount of time. As you look at your resolution, plan for time to work your goal, dedicate yourself to this time, and make the effort.
Overcoming Failure: One of the big reasons we don’t accomplish our resolutions is that we stop trying after one setback. “I ate a half of a cookie, so my diet is blown. I am just going to give up.” Learn to accept that failure is part of the process. Some days will be good, some not as much. Don’t let a setback hold you back. Look at the stumbling block, learn from it, and go back to your practice (see repetition).
Self-Talk is the other area which affects our ability to be successful. What we think can either empower or weaken us. Learn to use your mental state to move you forward instead of holding you back.
Fake It Till You Make It: No one else will believe in you, until you do. No one else can give you self-confidence, only you can do it. The first step to self-confidence and achieving what you want is to believe you can. Once you believe it, you will be able to act as if you are already what you want to achieve. This can also be done in baby-steps. Maybe you want to be a world-famous author, but if you have not written a sentence it may be hard to believe it. Instead start by believing that you are a prolific writer or a solid writer or even just “a” writer. Once you realize you have accomplished your mini goal, broaden your mental belief.
Positive Reinforcement: All too often we focus on the stick instead of the carrot. Create a daily routine of positive reinforcement and affirmations. Replace negative self-talk with positive desires. Catch yourself when your mind goes to the negative. Stop. Replace the negative fears and attacks, with thoughts of what you do well and want to accomplish. One great idea Dr. Joseph had was to take the time to write a letter to yourself when things are good. Brag to yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments. Share what is good about you and what you do. Then pull this letter out and re-read it when you are having a difficult negative self-talk day.
As you enter 2018, create some realistic goals based on what you want, not on what you want to fix about yourself. Then schedule time to work toward your goal and be persistent even when there are set-backs. Finally, be your own coach. Focus on the good you accomplish. Stay strong when things are hard. Believe in yourself.
If you want some support with your resolutions, persistence, or self-talk, reach out to me. Happy to explore if we are right to work together.