This year, I did something I typically don’t do. I made a New Years Resolution. I usually steer clear of the ever-popular New Years Resolutions because the idea of setting goals once a year has always turned me off. I like the idea of always striving to be better and setting goals as they are needed, and not waiting til everyone else does it on January 1st.
This January 1, I knew it was time. I couldn’t wait any longer to get back in shape. The last 3 1/2 years of not having a steady income have been rough on me emotionally and physically, and I have not been taking care of myself like I should have been. I decided to set some small goals for myself so that I could reach my larger goal of losing weight and gaining energy.
I added exercise in to my routine on week one. I have been loving dancing with the wii at my friend, Safire’s, house. We have been sweating to Just Dance 2 for a few weeks now and love it. When I don’t get together with Safire, I have been doing workout DVDs at home. Not my favorite way to exercise, but it’s free. And warm.
On week 2, I vowed to add more water into my day. If trips to the bathroom are a good indicator, I have been drinking more water. Maybe not enough, but I’m definitely doing better.
Week 3 is starting today, and my newest goal is to get more sleep. I wake up every morning at 5:00am to get KitKat up so she can make it out the door for her 6:00am seminary class. Sadly, despite the early wake up time, I’ve had a bad habit of going to sleep after midnight. I know that five hours of sleep is not enough for a healthy body. So this week, I am striving to make getting to bed earlier my newest habit.
In future weeks, my goals will include eating healthier (particularly dropping the snacks) and increasing my exercise (adding muscle toning to the cardio). With the influence of my friend Leah from Bookieboo and Mamavation I’m hoping to keep on track (By the way – the new round starts this week! I’m really hoping that @katjrobertson is picked as one of the Mamavation Moms!)
As an added motivation, this month’s Fishful Thinking newsletter and message came via email last week. What perfect timing! This is what my friend and mentor, Karen Reivich, says about achieving goals:
Think about how you and your kids pursue long-term goals. Do you do whatever it takes to reach the goal, even if it means weeks, months, or years of effort? Or do you stick with your goal but lose interest, quit when it gets tough, or stop when there are roadblocks in your path?
Psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth has studied why some persist in the pursuit of goals (for years and years), while others quit and find something else as soon as they get bored or hit obstacles. She calls this mental trait of perseverance and passion for long-term goals “grit”. Angela’s research shows that individuals with grit are more likely to persist in reaching their goals, and are more likely to succeed and outperform those with less grit. In fact, her research shows that grit is a better predictor of success—like those who make it to the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which West Point Cadets will make it through the grueling first summer at West Point, and even a student’s grades in school—than intelligence or self-control.
Grit requires perseverance and optimism. It also requires setting goals that align with our passions. After all, it’s going to be easier to keep a goal that intrigues and excites us—a goal that we have heart for—rather than a goal that fails to ignite our zest and enthusiasm. You can take a free test of your grit by going to http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu and clicking on the Grit Survey link found under Engagement Questionnaires. (You will need to make a username and password – there is no charge)
Reflect on the questions below to help you think about how much grit you have:
- What long-term goals have you set for yourself? What has been your progress in meeting those goals?
- When working toward a long term goal, how do you respond when you encounter difficulties or challenges along the way?
- What are you most passionate about? How do your goals fit with your passions (are they related or unrelated)?
- How would you describe your self-control? How do you respond when you are tempted to do something that will undermine your ability to meet your goals?
- How optimistic are you? How do you use your optimism to reach your goals?
The field of Positive Psychology doesn’t yet have empirically validated techniques for teaching grit. I believe, however, that if we help our children develop optimism, self-control, and perseverance, and marry those attributes to their passions, we will increase the likelihood that our children develop grit. In addition, we can teach our children that success and talent take a lot of time and effort by praising them for their efforts and the daily steps they take to reach their goal.
If all of that wasn’t motivation enough, I stumbled upon this photo of myself holding Twizzler, my third child, on a Florida beach during the Summer of 2001. Granted, I was in my late 20s then (instead of my late 30s…) and I have had two more kids since this picture was taken. But the stark difference between how I look NOW versus how I looked THEN is all the motivation I need to stick with my goals.
I hardly even recognize myself.
What motivates you to stick with your goals?
PS – I am hosting the live chat in the Coffee Talk BlogFrog community tomorrow morning at 11:00 am Eastern Time. We’re talking about photography tips (woohoo!). I hope you’ll join me there!
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