Successful Goal-Attainment Exercise

Okay so here it is coming up to the new year and I’m so excited. I’ve got all these great plans. I’m gonna get fit this year, absolutely. I’m gonna go to the gym every weekday at 6 a.m. And you know I really want to improve my nutrition too so every single day I’m gonna have a salad for lunch. You know I wanna up my game too so I’m gonna plan to meditate for 20 minutes every single morning. Fail fail fail. It just doesn’t work that way, does it? 80 to 90% of New Year’s resolutions completely fail. They’re completely a bust and sadly the majority of them have already led to failure by January 12th. That’s just 12 days into the new year and we’re already failing. Well that’s probably your experience with New Year’s resolutions in the past. It’d be certainly most people’s experience but in this video I’m going to give you a surefire way to get success with your New Year’s resolution. So stay tuned.

As a coach, public speaker and best-selling author I teach topics just like this one all around the world so stay tuned and I’ll give you practical tools that you can use to make both yourself and those around you both happier and more successful. So we really really want to succeed on our New Year’s resolutions. We want our goals to come to fruition. Well there’s some great research done by a woman named Dr. Ellen Langer out of Harvard University and she shows that it’s how we see ourselves that matters. And she did this really cool experiment, she basically took a whole bunch of housekeeper’s you know hotel maids, people who clean rooms in hotels and tested them for levels of fitness. You know cardiovascular fitness; what was their weight to height ratios, blood pressure heart rate all that kind of stuff. Tested for basic fitness. And then she split the women into two groups and with the first randomly selected group she put these women through an extensive workshop on exercise and nutrition… telling people what are the best ways to get exercise, how to get fitter, how to improve your cardiovascular strength and then how to have a great nourishing diet so that you’re maximizing your physical health. The second group, she did none of that. Instead she gave them a very factual account of how much exercise their daily jobs entailed. These are housekeeper’s. So they’re vacuuming, they’re wiping down counters and cleaning bathrooms and making beds.

All the kind of things you can imagine a housekeeper does and it’s demanding! If you do eight hours of that every day it’s a pretty physically demanding job. She would just explain to them how much work they did, how many calories they had burned, what the heart rate was when they did it. Things like that. Then several weeks later she retested all the women from both groups for their physical fitness and which would you guess became much fitter than the other? Yeah, it’s not the one that was taught about it nutrition and exercise, not at all. Which is surprising, those women were given all this equipment, this knowledge to get themselves to a fitter state. But they had made no improvements in spite of the fact that some of those women said anecdotally to the researchers that they were working hard on their fitness based on what they’ve been taught. Whereas the women who were simply told about how physically demanding their jobs were, they became fitter still. After several weeks of seeing themselves as more fit based on their their job requirements, they in fact made subtle changes that were consistent with how they saw themselves. Since they saw themselves as people who work hard at their occupations, day in day out and we’re getting lots of exercise in their work, they started to identify themselves as being relatively fit people. And in keeping with that identity they did even more things to make themselves fit. Maybe they went for walks after dinner or maybe they bought more fruits and vegetables when they were shopping to be consistent with this new identity that they’ve taken on. As people who had fit making jobs.

Makes sense, and there’s lots of other powerful research around this whole idea that it’s our identity that drives our behavior. We want to be consistent in our outward behavior with how we see ourselves inwardly. So if I see myself as a very spiritual person maybe then my outward behaviors would be praying and I’d meditate and I’d go to church or synagogue or whatever I would do. My behaviors are gonna be consistent with my identity so if we want to meet our goals in the new year we need to be really clear about the identity we want to have. And then we can see incrementally how we can shift our current state to be consistent with that identity that we want. The best way to start is to see all the ways that we already behave consistently with the identity that we want. So for example if your 20/20 resolutions are going to be around fitness, then write down… and I mean it seriously- after this video write down an exhaustive list of all the ways that you presently stay fit. Even if they’re very small like do you go up and down stairs in your own home? Do you fold your own laundry, do you make the bed, do you do dishes, do you vacuum your carpets, do you walk up and down the corridors at your work? Do you need to stand at your work? Whatever you do that can be in the smallest ways seen as fitness inducing—make a list of them and see yourself as already having many behaviors that are outwardly consistent with your inward desire for an identity as being fit. Start to relate to yourself as a fit person and similarly if it’s other goals that you want… if you have learning objectives for this year already look at all the ways you’ve learned things in the past and the things that even that you ongoingly learn.

Maybe you learn how to program the new home entertainment device that you got for Christmas. See yourself as somebody who learns and then as you set your goals, whether for fitness or learning or spiritual or social goals or whatever you want, do some increment more than what you do now. Not some grand thing, if you never do anything for fitness or very very little and suddenly you say I’m gonna go to the gym every morning at 6:00 a.m. well odds are you’re gonna be amongst the 80 to 90% people who don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. But on the other hand if you simply make a small incremental goal every day. “At the office I’m going to take the stairs up and down between the two floors of our building rather than the elevator.” And every day you take the stairs consistently never failing and that’s different than your current behaviors, that’s a big step forward. It may be something as simple as saying every day on my way to work I’m gonna get off on the bus one stop earlier than I get off now, and walk that block to work. We incrementally improve our fitness, our identity starts to reinforce what our behaviors are saying so we’re more strongly seeing ourselves as identified as fit. And maybe then we can get two blocks off early on the bus and walk and then three blocks and then maybe we ride our bikes but we do things that are incrementally consistent with the identity that we have now, that’s based on the foundation of who we really are. And the easiest way of course to do this is not just to be incremental not just to be consistent with the identity that we already have some ownership of, but to add the things that we want to our existing lifestyle. So if you want to be a meditator maybe it’s simply that we build ten minutes into the day where we meditate every day attached to something we already do. Every day just prior to breakfast which I do every day, that’s when I do my 10 minutes of meditation so that I attach it to an existing habit. It’s these little attachments to existing lifestyles rather than making a resolution that requires a radical change in behaviors. How you are today and how you’ll be a year from now, there may be a radical difference but how you want to see yourself today and how you want to see yourself tomorrow needs to be a relatively small increment so that it’s doable. It’s achievable and you don’t become one of the statistics of people who don’t make their resolution go beyond January 12th. So these are surefire ways to do things. Think about your identity, invest in who you are how you see yourself. Do incremental behavioral changes and attach those behavioral changes to existing aspects of your lifestyle. I’ve got a little PDF to link in the description below that will give you a little bit more advice about exactly this recommendation and a little cheat sheet that you can work out. So download that little PDF and you’ll get a few clues about how to implement this in your own life. Look if you like this kind of content please like the video, share the video and if you want to see content like this every Sunday morning subscribe to my channel and a new video about happiness and success will come to you. Thanks for watching I’m Paul Krismer your happiness expert.