Every year on January 1st the world divides into two groups of people: Those who set “New Years Resolutions” and those who don’t. Some may argue if you don’t set resolutions (goals), you’re less likely to have a successful year. Others state they’d rather just set goals year-round (I was one of these people). And still others see New Years Day as just another trip around the sun… no big deal.
In October my husband Tony and I started talking about doing a weight loss program in the new year. Why wait until then? Because it’s an easy goal to set… along with most of the world that wants to get healthy. But more than that… quite frankly, it gave us permission to procrastinate until after the holidays, since “dieting” is nearly impossible with feasts and treats demanding to be eaten.
But there was one issue with waiting… his health and my chronic fatigue were both getting out of control. We realized by waiting until we were past the horrible-for-you-but-yummy food season to make any changes, we’d be that much worse off. So we decided to start the program in October, just two months before Thanksgiving.
By Thanksgiving I’d lost just over 20 lbs. By Christmas week I’d lost 31 lbs. Thanksgiving week I didn’t lose anything (but I didn’t gain either). Christmas week I loaded up on popcorn, chocolate and cookies my mom baked for our annual Holiday Open House… and I gained one pound. One.
So instead of going into a new year ready to make the most common resolution in the world—to lose weight—I started my new year already 30 lbs lighter, ready to keep going.
It’s easy to use a “date” or special event as an incentive to start a new habit. It’s easy to say, “I’ll make this change starting [date]” and then wait until that time to get started. It’s easy to think we need to wait in order to “mentally prepare” for the change, whatever the hell that means.
But I’d like to point out the obvious that most goal-setters seem to miss. Setting a goal with a start date is just a sneaky way of giving yourself permission to procrastinate. All you’re doing is putting off what you should be starting now. And if you really think about it, this is a form of self-sabotage: Giving yourself an out to not take action when you know you need to.
The Brutal Honesty of the Past Year
I’ll be completely honest with you. I’ve been struggling with my business this year. It’s been incredibly rough. And I mean tear-soaked pillows, wanting-to-punch-holes-in-walls, screaming at the top of my lungs at the air in my car rough. Some days I’ve not known which end is up. Some days I dreaded getting out of bed. I felt the familiar dark tendrils of depression sneak around my consciousness, attempting to get a grip on my soul. Anxiety became frequent. Triggers pushed me to the edge… and often I fell off that edge. And I’m ashamed to say it, but I started the first few minutes of this new year in a full-blown panic attack, screaming in anger and frustration at something I felt was beyond my control. It wasn’t pretty. It never is.
Somehow I hoped the countdown to a new year would make a difference. That maybe a fresh start would be obvious. But it wasn’t. If we’re honest with ourselves, it never is. It’s simply another day.
And that’s the secret! Every day is another day. Every minute is a chance to start. A chance to stop putting off whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do. This realization that setting goals of “I’ll start on [date]” (including resolutions) was a fancy way of procrastinating and psyching myself into feeling good about that procrastination hit me when I was telling a friend that I was going to start taking over an e-comm store project Tony had started… “in two weeks.” I set a start date to psych myself into feeling good about procrastinating. There was no reason I had to wait two weeks. I had sold my online author training brand two months before I said that. I’d finished setting up our toy store at the Market over a month before I said it. The only reason I put a start date on this new project was because I was scared. I was uncomfortable starting something new and unfamiliar, so I felt I needed permission to procrastinate.
In fact, I had originally stated I would be starting this project in January. Then I decided November would be a better start date. And in October? About the same time we finally figured out that we were only procrastinating on waiting to do the weight loss plan, I also realized I was procrastinating on my next big thing. It was a slap in the face of my reality that if I wanted anything to come to fruition, I needed to act sooner rather than later. Instead of setting a goal with a start date, I sat down at my computer and—GULP—STARTED. (What a concept!)
If I’d waited until January to start the project, I wouldn’t have the back-end already built out, optimized and ready to focus on product creation this month. Instead I’d still be another two or three months out from launch. I wouldn’t be as clear on the direction the project needed to go. If I’d waited, I would have given myself permission to piss all my time away under the guise of “it’s the holidays, it’s crazy right now” which is simply an excuse. Newsflash: There will always be an excuse!
And that’s just it. Goals are great, and necessary. And New Years Resolutions make it easy to set big goals and psych yourself into starting them. But overall, goals without fast, decisive action are excuses waiting to be pushed aside as something more “important” demands your attention… yet again.
As it always will.
It’s time for you to quit setting resolutions and goals with start dates. Instead, how about when you decide you’re going to do something, you actually do it? Instead of waiting until Monday, do something—anything—to start NOW. It doesn’t matter how small the task, as long as it pushes you toward your goal it’s something.
And something is always better than nothing every time.
What is your something going to be right now?
Nola GarciaJanuary 2, 2020
May you new year and new decade be filled with blessings of all kinds and my wish is that they present themselves in a way that is easy to see and receive! ❤️
You are loved and appreciated by more people than you realize!
lori bridgesJanuary 2, 2020
Wow! Great minds think alike ; } . Love this. I did the same thing, I started my New Year weight loss program just after Thanksgiving. I wanted to have everything in place (like foods, exercise, trainers, equipment-anything I needed) by the beginning of the year. I started the new year 7 pounds lighter and better health habits firmly in place.
I did the same with my what-the-hell-am-I-doing business. In October I made myself layout everything I was doing (way too much) and decide what of these things really aligned with what I was inside. The answer was easy, even though I had not been seeing it before (self sabatoge). Then I began to streamline things and as I did several things fell into place.
One was the money I needed to make that happen. Money for equipment and two money for the training. So I was able to walk into the Apple store and get my own brand spanking new electronics to replace what I was borrowing or had but was seriously old and barely working. And I had money for Tony’s awesome deal on his courses.
That was the first time I had started my planning AND implementation that far in advance. I have heard very successful people say it all the time, but I just put it off. Why do it? What’s wrong with waiting until the 1st? Now I see why.
The biggest thing for me was that on the first I was already on the ground running. NOT trying to figure things out. I had done that already 2 -3 months earlier. Usually a month into the New Year I am lost and I give up, I’ve accomplished nothing so what the hell try again next year. This time I wasn’t frantic or under pressure and therefore I had the time to think and work things through.
Finally I am on the right track and for the first time absolutely excited about my business and it’s possibilities.
I so agree with you Kristen, make the decision and act upon it. NOW! It really made a big difference for me. Now the thing is to keep taking action. This is going to be an awesome year.
Ya know, things falling into place like that really helped me believe in myself. I felt like I was being backed by something very powerful saying ‘yeah, you got this kid’. Boy did that ever make me feel grateful and alive.
Everyone go be AWESOME!
And a big THANK YOU to you and Tony for blazing the trail ahead of me and leaving a path for me to follow.
Kristen Joy LaidigJanuary 2, 2020 lori bridges
Lori! Your comments put a huge smile on my face! Congrats on hitting the ground running and your smart (I’m not biased… lol) decision on Tony’s course package. This IS going to be a great year for you!
John Dyer-VassJanuary 2, 2020
thank you for pouring your heart out
Procrastinator (past tense)
Bob DuvalJanuary 2, 2020
An excellent post. I hope EVERYONE gets it. I am considered a senior citizen by many but just starting out in my own mind.
On October 18, 1984 at 1:00 PM i told myself I was going to quit smoking tomorrow morning. Then, again talking to myself, I realized that was a mind game. Every smoker thinks that overnight will get rid of enough nicotine from our lungs to make it easier. I also realized that thinking that quitting was hard was a mind game. In that moment, I realized if I really wanted to quit I could do it right now. I did not light the cigarette hanging out of my mouth and I realized if I really wanted to quit I would quit right now. I threw away the cigarettes and have not wanted one since. All procrastination is a mind game, and, we have control of our own mind.
In 1974 I was in a classroom in Denver in a classroom in Denver, Colorado in a proprietary school called “Sales Training Institute.” One of the primary tenants of this school was having a “Sense to Specialize.” Specialization ensures that we don’t spread ourselves too thin. I am again learning that lesson as I have many variants of things I want to do, but, not one specialization. I have struggled all my life to “find my calling.” I just realized, several years later, that if you can’t find your calling stick with one thing until it finds you.
I hope and pray that this post will help you and help others that follow you and Tony.
Love and Blessings for a happy and prosperous 2020 and beyond to you, Tony, and all the people that follow you.
Kristen Joy LaidigJanuary 2, 2020 Bob Duval
Congratulations on taking action Bob! Especially on quitting smoking. The fact that you remember the exact date and time of your decision shows how important it was. Have a great 2020!
Tracy TennantJanuary 1, 2020
Well said and insightful! I never thought of it this way before, but it’s so true; setting a start date in the future is a way to justify and rationalize procrastination. As an aside, I would love to know your weight loss regimen. Congratulations on the 31 lbs!
Tracy Tennant recently posted…Boost Your Business by Writing a Book Part 5
Wendy WatsonJanuary 1, 2020
Kia ora Kristen,
I have only recently `discovered` you through Tony Laidig, who I have been following for the past year, purchased some of his programmes and followed some of his advice!
I love the Public Domain and get lost in the illustrations of those clever, clever artists of yesteryear.
I am a nearly 69 yr young, elementary teacher of ESOL students and austistic students in Rotorua NZ. Love my job but the physical demands are starting to bite, so am working on ebooks essentially to help me into retirement.
I LOVE Jay Boyer and have been with his ebook progs for a number of years and I purchased the Apex Authors progs of late.
I have LOVED following your work in the progs and am following your advice! You are very good at presenting the info, you outline and make everything clear so wanted to tell you that. Enjoyed your above post. Great advice and I`m on to my action right now.
I wish you and yours all the very best for 2020. I have you and your on my prayer list as we move into a new year.
Kristen Joy LaidigJanuary 2, 2020 Wendy Watson
Thanks for your kind comment Wendy! It’s awesome to see you taking action and I’m glad you found me through Tony! 🙂
DeniseJanuary 1, 2020
I can relate to all of this. I don’t do resolutions and often goals that I miss send me in a spiral of guilt and depression. So this year, I simply made a list of what I’m carrying with me into 2020 and what I’m leaving behind. For example, I’m leaving behind being the person in my family and friend circle who is always available to help or do a favor. It sucked so much time, energy, and left me completely depleted which ultimately left me (in my estimation) about 3 months behind in getting my business off the ground.
I’ve decided what I’m carrying into 2020 with me are boundaries. Time is what I need to build my business. Time is what I need to get my health back. Time is what I need to create. I could go on and on but I know you understand.
Happy New Year!
Congrats on all your future successes and congrats to you and Tony for getting healthy!
loriJanuary 2, 2020 Denise
Denise I so hear you!! I have also decided to cut off the energy vampires. This year is for me. Wish you all the best!
Kristen Joy LaidigJanuary 2, 2020 Denise
Great idea of making a list Denise! Boundaries are sooooo important. The topic of another article for sure. 😉