• Tavari T. Brown, Ph.D., MPH, LPC

The Resolution Starts Now: A blog to keep you motivated

There is something magical about the New Year. The slowdown of the holiday season gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives, ourselves, and our desires. We look ahead with high aspirations as to what the year might bring. The New Year offers a clean slate. A new start. More diets are started on January 1st than any other day of the year. We are going to exercise, be a better friend/family member, further or education or find a new job.

In reality, there is nothing special about January 1st. It is a 24 hour period, just like December 31st or even July 31st. Every day, every moment of the day, and even ever second offers us a new opportunity to correct our actions and redirect our course. There is also nothing special about Mondays. There is no sense in engorging yourself today and starting a new diet or exercise plan on Monday. The resolution starts now. The only magical moment is this one, because it will soon disappear!

This month’s Resolution Topic: Aim for progress not perfection

Aim for progress not perfection every day. Not all or nothing/zero sum thinking. If you aim for the moon, at least you got off the ground! If you give yourself your very best every day, you will make improvements. You may not lose 100 lbs., but if you are as consistent and realistic even without doing everything perfectly, you can lose 20lbs. A major trick is focusing on the process not the outcomes. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be motivated to continue, and you will inevitably reach your goal. Let’s get rid of the all or nothing thinking. You may not reach 100, you might only get to 99, it might only be 20, but some is better than none. So stop waiting on the magical moment. There will always be something in the way. Carve out the time for your goals and give yourself the respect that you give others. If you can get up every day and go to work, you can make yourself and your goals a priority daily. You don’t have to wait. If you can’t find the time; make the time. Stop and do something toward your goals for 5 minutes every waking hour of the day. We are accustomed to instant gratification. As it relates to change, good enough is better than okay, and okay is better than nothing at all. Don‘t discount any steps towards progress. Even baby steps are better than being stuck in the same place come tomorrow, next week, or next New Year’s Eve. Any progress we make in this moment puts us even slightly closer to our goals. As long as you don’t quit striving, you will make progress. If you don’t quit, you will be closer to your goal tomorrow, a week, a month, and a year from now.

Embrace the fact that nothing ever goes “perfectly.” Relish and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to be perfect. You are now officially off the hook! The perfect moment will never arrive, but this moment is here right now. What can you do in this moment to get closer to your goals?

Rather for perfection, aim for fun. What do you need to do to enjoy the process? Create small rewards along the way? Find fun ways to exercise, find recipes, cook, read about topics that you enjoy?

When things are off track, which is sure to happen, don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge the fact that you are off track and get back on it! You don’t need a new day to restart, all you need is the next moment! Fear and failure are opportunities; use them. Fear can immobilize us or propel us to imagine the possibilities of success and how to cope with the little setbacks. Your moment is now. Go take the first step toward growth.


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