Thursday, January 2, 2020

Succeed! Why New Year’s resolutions fail

William Clark (The Conversation); Ananda, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
I was all pumped up and emotional about getting healthy and meditating, but now I feel weak.

WHY your New Year’s resolution to go to the gym will fail [and what to do about it]
In January 40 percent of Americans will make New Year's resolutions, and nearly half of them will aim to lose weight or get in shape [or cultivate a meditation practice].

But 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February [many of the rest not too long after], and gyms will experience a decrease in traffic after the first and second months of the year as those who made New Year's resolutions to get in shape lose steam.

As a lecturer at Binghamton University and former Olympic weightlifter, world champion powerlifter, and strength coach, much of my [William Clark] life has been spent in training halls and gyms around the country. People often ask me, "How do I stay motivated to work out?"

New Year's resolutions
Nearly half of all respondents in a poll about 2018 New Year's resolutions wanted to lose weight or get in shape (Statistica/The Conversation/CC-BY-ND).
Motivation and short-term objectives
I'm going to hike then climb that tree.
Years back, when I was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of the sports psychologists told me that motivation is a lie.

It took me years of experience and research to figure out why, but I believe she was right.

Personally, I have no issues getting up on a cold and dark morning to train when a competition is drawing near. But when there is no immediate objective or goal in site, getting up that early is much harder.

Motivation is driven by emotion, and that can be positive, as long as it is used for a short-term objective. For some, a New Year's resolution can serve as a motivator. But since motivation is based on emotion, it can't last long.

Think of it this way: No one can laugh or cry indefinitely, and that is exactly how we know that motivation will fail.

Emotion is a chemical release yielding a physiological response. If someone attempting to get in shape is reliant upon this reaction to propel them towards working out, they are almost sure to burn out, just like with a resolution.

When people buy gym memberships, they have the best of intentions in mind, but the commitments are made in a charged emotional state. Motivation helps with short-term objectives, but is virtually useless for objectives that require a greater length of time to accomplish.

In other words, don't totally discount the value of motivation, but don't count on it to last long either because it won't.

Discipline [commitment] yields results
I just need to shave a few inches off my rump.
If motivation won't help you reach your goals, what will?

The answer is discipline. Discipline, as I define it, is "the ability to do what is necessary for success when it is hardest to do so." Another way to think of it is having the ability, not necessarily the desire, to do what you need to when you least want to.

Failure to get up when the alarm rings, the inability to walk away from a late night of partying before game day, or eating a donut when you have committed to no processed sugar are all failures of discipline -- not of motivation or emotion.

Be perfect? Perfection is the enemy of the good.
The keys to discipline are practice and consistency. Discipline means repetitive – and sometimes boring – action. Take the long way; there's no taking shortcuts. Thank motivation for the first three weeks or so of your successful gym attendance, but after that you need to credit discipline.

There is another clear line defining the difference between motivation and discipline. Discipline in and of itself typically succeeds in building qualities necessary for advancement, whereas motivation fails to do this. Discipline develops confidence and patience.

Discipline builds consistency, and consistency yields habits. It is those habits that will, in the end, ultimately define success. More (Reposted by with permission from The Conversation).

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