Remember that New Year’s resolution that you made a few weeks ago? Oh yeah, that one. How’s that going? If you’re like most people, you may have started to slack off just a little bit. Or even worse, maybe it’s already a distant memory. No worries, I won’t tell. Let’s get you going again.
The biggest problem with resolutions is that they are often too vague and have no finish line. “I’m going to start exercising . . . eat more healthily . . . lose weight . . . lower my blood sugar . . . get a better job.” Sound familiar? Those are commendable promises to ourselves, and we really want to do them. But we all need a bit of tough love, something to keep us on track. When you were in school, how much studying would you have done if you had not had those tests and that final exam looming in the distance? The tests kept you on pace, and that final grade was your finish line. They intimidated you to do the work so that you wouldn’t be humiliated, or better yet, you were motivated by the satisfaction of receiving a good grade. Often, both forces were working on you at the same time.
The same is true for goals in our life. We need a finish line. There is no way I could swim, bike, and run the hours and miles I train every week if I did not have a triathlon race staring me in the face. I’m scared not to train because I don’t want to suffer and get crushed by the competition on race day. At the same time, I love the workouts and feeling fit, and I especially love the satisfaction of crossing that finish line at the race (hopefully up front!). That’s the foundation of my motivational speaking message, Finish Line Vision: visualizing your finish line and that feeling you want to experience when you get there.
So what was your New Year’s resolution? Losing weight? Let’s change that to a vision of you wearing a new outfit several sizes smaller at a special event in your life later this year: a wedding, a party, or another gathering where you really want to look your best. Circle your summer vacation at the beach on the calendar and visualize how you want to look in your swimsuit. Go ahead and pick out that outfit right now in the size you want! Now you have to be ready. I once heard a speaker tell a great story about how he was overweight, but listed his ideal weight in the bio of a book he was writing. Then he had to lose weight because the book was coming out in print!
Do you want to exercise or get in shape? Sign up for a local 10k running race or even a marathon, with a few shorter events along the way. Those races on your calendar will be a running shoe kicking you in the butt to get out the door and get ready. You’ll also be surrounding yourself with other healthy, goal-oriented people. And that greasy meal or that supersize dessert won’t look so good if you have to run six miles tomorrow morning.
Suppose you want to get better control of your diabetes. Weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet are key ingredients for that, so the same finish lines discussed above will help with your diabetes. You may also resolve to have a certain A1c score at your next doctor visit. Resolve to ask your doctor and do your own investigating about new diabetes technologies – insulins, an insulin pump, or meters. Maybe just resolve to get more blood sugar meters so that you can easily check more often. I keep several OneTouch meters everywhere: in my home, car, workout bag, and office.
You will begin to love the progress you are making toward your goal, and that will motivate you to keep working. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Having those little “tests” along the way will keep you disciplined. But when you do finally get there and cross your finish line, enjoy that feeling! You’ll want to set a new goal to experience it again and again. Achievement is addictive. You’ll appreciate yourself in no time!