I look forward to building more positive habits than to achieve goals, and surprising myself with positive outcomes.

We are halfway into the 1st month of 2018. I feel very encouraged to see an increased number of people at the parks exercising during the early part of the year. Many should share the same new year resolution of “Keeping a healthier lifestyle” or “Losing weight”.

Unfortunately, to a certain extent, this number often drops throughout the year, as seen from every other year. Reasons are usually “too busy at work”, “too busy with other commitments” or “I don’t see any results”.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, how many of us actually follow through a goal or resolution which they set out to achieve at the beginning of the year? Some studies globally actually showed that about 40% of people followed through for up to half a year and only 8% confidently expressed that they stick to their resolutions for the whole year. Are people lazy, over-ambitious or they simply cannot find the motivation to press on?

Set goals, plan and get into action

To me, setting goals (“Want-to”) is the first step to a more purposeful life. However, goals without action plans are just wishes.

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Planning the actions to be taken (“What-to, How-to, Where-to, When-to, Who-to”) to achieve those goals is the next step. However, some people only think of what they want to achieve without thinking further into the actions, while some plan actions which are not realistic or measurable.

The process does not stop here. And ACTUALLY taking action makes the whole difference.

I’m not an expert in the areas below but I would like to use them as analogies of how one can consider when setting their goals, planning and getting into action.

Example 1:
Goal: I want to run faster
Plan: What distance? How, where, when to train and who to train with/consult?
– Half marathon
– Run xx km or xx hours a week
– At the track, along rolling hills, at the park or at the gym
– Morning before work or lunch time
– Run with motivated and like-minded friends/groups
– Consult an experienced friend or expert for advice/tips
Action: Take action progressively and build it into a habit

Example 2:
Goal: I want to hit xx sales per year
Plan: What target audience? How, where, when to approach and who to brainstorm with/consult?
– Business-to-Business
– Research on active clients within target segment, gather xx leads a week, follow up with xx potential clients a week, and/or attend networking sessions xx times a month
– Brainstorm ideas with team and gather feedback to improve process
– Consult experienced friends or mentor
Action: Take action progressively and build it into a habit

Personal thoughts from 2017

I’m someone who is motivated by the journey and not the destination. I choose to believe that results will follow when the actions are taken consistently. Rushing to get the end results often lead to burn-out, and/or disappointments. These negative impact may come in both physical and mental forms.

I learnt in 2017 that small changes in my lifestyle can have a significant impact and are more sustainable.

Referring to one of the many aspects of my life: health & fitness. I set a reasonable yet challenging weekly mileage target and stick to it for 4 weeks. It became a habit which I constantly strive to achieve. Whenever I feel lazy or exhausted, I’ll remind myself that if I don’t do it today, I will need to make up for it tomorrow or during the rest of the week.

On a similar note, I reduced (it is more realistic than to abstain totally) sugar intake by having less coffee which I usually take during my daily breakfast. Setting a weekly quota helped to curb my craving for coffee as well.

I also constantly remind myself to spend time with my loved ones, by setting aside quality meal times with my wife and friends. I adjusted my schedules for other things so that I allocate dinner times on weekdays and lunch/dinner on weekends with important people.

There were no specific goals in mind but I enjoyed the journey, constantly looking forward to outcomes which surprise me.

Some positive outcomes which I experienced include better run performances (slowly but surely), reduced body fat and a more positive mind. I get to spend more time with people who sometimes highlighted to me that I did not spend enough with them.

Going into Year 2018

For 2018, I wish to bring my health & fitness to another level, while improving other aspects of total wellness.
– Reading a book at least 3 times a week, 20 minutes each time (keeping it realistic as I was never a book person)
– Doing core workouts at least 3 times a week, 10 minutes each time (never a core workout person too)
– Adding some high-intensity workout 1 time a week
– Listening to inspirational or educational podcasts at least 3 times a week

In order not to overwhelm myself and go into burn-out, I have planned to build the habits with the limited time I have daily by doing them concurrently. For example, I will read before bed-time or during lunchtime, listen to a podcast while warming up on the treadmill before the core workout session, and slot in a high-intensity workout as part of a usual run session etc.

With the same approach of weekly targets/quota, I am constantly motivated to achieve those actions with the same mindset “if I don’t do it today, I will have to make up for it tomorrow or during the rest of the week”.

This blog is for sharing of personal views and does not represent any expert opinions. For those who often feel burn-out or even get de-motivated after trying very hard to stick to their plans towards their resolutions, I hope my sharing can help to put things into a different perspective.

I’m looking forward to developing more positive habits than to chase goals, and surprising myself with positive outcomes which I may not even think of achieving.

Zhiyong
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