In our series on New Years resolutions, we’ve really been taking about what makes people tick. Understanding that allows us to make goals that work with who we are, and thus, make goals that we are actually much more likely to stick with.
In previous articles we learned that we have an emotional and a rational side, and it’s our emotional side that’s the boss.
Let’s use the analogy of two people in a car. One is behind the wheel, one is the co-pilot. Now the co-pilot with a map can and does influence the driver, “turn left here!” or “go 10 miles that way, then turn right”, but the co-pilot isn’t actually driving the car. That is our rational side. It doesn’t have access to the steering wheel or gas pedal. It’s true that through the use of will power it can force the driver to go the direction it wants, for a while, but willpower runs out and ultimately the driver is in control.
So, we’ve come this far, here’s the next thing we need to be aware of…
The driver (our emotional side) is focused on immediate gratification and is easily discouraged. Like a 2 year old (I say this as the proud father of a two year old).
But this is really important to recognize. Emotionally we are likely to jump on something with tremendous gusto, but we can quickly run out of steam, and get easily discouraged by even minor set backs.
What to do
To combat this natural tendency, we have to do two things:
Break down big goals
Let’s say you want to lose 100 lbs. Short of liposuction this is going to take at least a year to do, quite possibly longer. A year is WAY too long for our emotional selves to hang in there. They want immediate gratification, and they want it now. The first time you step on that scale and you see you’ve lost 2 lbs and have 98 to go, that could be it.
So, the trick is to break that goal down into more manageable goals. Let’s say your goal is to lose 10 lbs (and you will do this 10 times) or even 5 lbs (and do that 20 times).
Instead of setting yourself the goal of losing 100lbs, then your goal is 5 lbs. So when you step on the scale and see you’ve lost 2 lbs, that means you only have 3 more pounds to go. Big difference. Much less disheartening. Much more likely to give you a quick boost.
Get a quick fix
Then, you want to get a quick emotional fix, an uplift. This can be anything that is an emotional reward for you, maybe you go to see a movie you want to see, or get a new book you want to read, or your partner gives you the opportunity to sleep in, or… anything that works for you. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Just something that brings you happiness and boosts your spirits.
Using these two strategies we can help to keep our driver (emotional side) happy and following the ‘route’ that our rational side is setting for us.
We’ll continue on our journey to help you achieve success!
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