Motivation and Enjoyment Can Go Together
We’ve already slipped past the first month of 2020. But when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I’m a slow starter.
In the crush of deadlines and year-end records, I rarely find time to resolve to do much new during the new year, other than keep pace with my “to-do” lists.
Still, I think it’s worth calling attention to a recent blog written by an author I’m helping with a series of devotionals he plans to self-publish this year.
I don’t want to rehash Brian Catanella’s “How to Motivate Yourself in 2020,” since you can read it here.
Still, when it comes to the concept of goal-setting and resolution-making, I think it’s worth amplifying a couple of his observations on maximizing a new phase of life.
Make it Easy
When it comes to finding the motivation to set goals or accomplish new feats, I found two of his observations especially significant.
- The first: make it easy.
I don’t know the source of the statistic Brian cites, that 92 percent of those who make a New Year’s resolution fail to complete it.
But after seeing the early January crowds at the YMCA fizzle to half their size a month later, hearing about one-year Bible reading plans quickly gathering dust, and noticing dieting aficionados piling Cheetos and pizza on their plate at Super Bowl parties, I believe the figure is accurate.
From personal experience, I know the self-defeating nature of setting rigid goals and then watching life run them down.
Before damage to my heels forced a nine-month layoff from most physical activity—and the eventual demise of my habit—I was a jogger for 20 years.
My vow to run six days a week, with Sundays off, never quite made it past five days.
I would often beat myself mentally for failing, even after jotting a record of my daily miles on a wall calendar to motivate myself.
Then I wrote a feature on running for a Christian sports magazine. While interviewing a well-known novelist who regularly ran 10Ks, I asked what he did when he traveled for speaking engagements.
“I don’t run,” he replied.
Wow, what a novel concept. Take a day off.
His remark helped me stop going on guilt trips.
Though I no longer run, I still work out regularly. I get the added bonus of being able to complete work-related reading while using the stationary bike or treadmill.
It’s easier than gutting it out on the streets for 30 or 40 minutes in freezing weather too.
- Brian’s second tip: make it fun.
He talked about how he loves coaching his sons in youth sports. Well, football. Not so much with baseball.
Finally, last year he doubled down on football and let other dads take baseball duty.
That makes a lot of sense. No matter what the endeavor, if the way to the top is filled with teeth-gritting, arduous, pain-filled sacrifice, chances are we aren’t going to do it.
When this year’s Super Bowl arrived last Sunday, I did what I normally do: ate chicken wings, meatballs, and snacks.
I hope to leave that kind of thing to occasional appearances as I strive to shed some weight this year.
Yet I know that trying to restrict myself to carrot sticks and celery and never enjoying an occasional treat is a sure path to failure.
I also recently joined a weight-loss group that can keep me on track and accountable while making some new friends.
Life is always easier with smiling faces around for encouragement.