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Calendar January 2

Why is it so hard?  You made a firm decision and psyched yourself up to get it done this time.  You promised yourself that you would make it to the gym five times a week, working very hard to shed those pounds.  Or, you promised yourself to learn French to get a better job.  Or, you promised yourself to read that very thick manual to be an expert on a particular task that could give you that promotion you have always wanted.  You promised yourself!  So, what’s wrong with you?  Why are you struggling and in danger of giving up?  After all, you really want the result!

This is going to surprise you, but you are in danger of failing because you are trying too hard.  I can hear the objection: “What do you mean?  Don’t you have to try hard and work hard?  Doesn’t it take strong will power to succeed?”  No, not exactly.  You don’t have to try hard.  In fact, trying hard is self-defeating.  Let me explain.

New Year’s resolution is meant to be a commitment for the entire year.  You have an entire year to accomplish your task.  Hence, going ahead full speak is unnecessary.  In fact, full speed will certainly make you fail.  For example, vowing to show up at the gym five times a week is too much of a change, if you have been a couch potato before.  It is too big a change to keep you motivated.  Big changes are mentally challenging.  You will feel like you have entered a scary prison of endless repetitions that you are not used to.  It will scare you!

So, you need to slow down.  Do you want to lose those pounds?  You have twelve months to do it.  Try committing yourself to go to the gym twice a week, at first.  When you get used to it, you can increase it to three times, four times and five times gradually.  Also, make smaller commitments as to the amount of time you spend there.  Commit to twenty minutes at first.  Increase it slowly as you become stronger and more confident in your routine.  Don’t overdo it!

Secondly, you need to believe in yourself.  People try to hurry up the process and get it done because they want the result fast.  The desire for fast result is caused by lack of faith.  You are afraid of failing, so you want to avoid it by getting to the finish lane fast.  Mentally, though, this is exactly what will materialize your fear.  Hurrying up will exhaust you quickly and you will give up.  Hence, believe in yourself!  Believe that you are capable of getting to where you want to be!  Have faith!  If you have faith in yourself, it is easier to slow down and take it one step at the time.  You know you will get to the finish lane, so you can do it the slower, steadier and, mentally speaking, in a more relaxing way.

I hope this short contemplation on the matter will help you.  Make small and steady steps toward achieving your goal!  At the end of the year, you will be skinnier, or have a better job or, get that promotion, just in time for the holidays.  Good luck!

M. J. Mandoki