In a blog he posted about a week ago, Stephen Covey gives some very insightful ideas on how to succeed in achieving your New Year's Resolution. The truth is that by this time of the year (just under 4 weeks into the year), nearly 50% of all New Year's Resolutions are given up on.
Why is that? Why do we give up so easy when we "want" something so bad? Why do we not eat better, not quit smoking, exercise more often of even spend more time with the ones we love? These should all be simple things. They should all be very doable. But yet we give up on achieving them so quickly.
Believe it or not, the answer is simple. The answer lies in the fact that we fail to keep the goal in the forefront of our minds and that we fail to build into the process, small victories that will keep us motivated and moving forward.
I can't lose 20 lbs in one day - no matter how hard I try (unless I have a limb amputated). So, usually, when I fail to see physical progress (some form of weight loss) and there is no reward in place for doing the acts necessary, I will get frustrated with all the things I am giving up during the process - and I will quit trying.
Unfortunately, that isn't how the human mind works - or any other animal in the world for that matter. We need to be rewarded for taking steps towards the goal, or we will give up. Sometimes that reward comes from looking at the scale and seeing the number going down. Sometimes it comes from getting a compliment from a friend. But when those things don't happen, we must find a way to reward ourselves simply for the behavioral change of eating better - whether the weight loss shows itself or not. And we must continue to look at what we can do better each day forward to make the habits work for us - not against us.