Positive Resolutions

Many of us start out each year by looking at ourselves and our lives and setting goals for improvement. That’s nice, but they don’t really seem to stick. According to Forbes, 55% of people keep their resolutions for less than a year, and 11% for less than a month. Action-oriented goals are more likely to be kept than avoidance-oriented goals. (Forbes) I think the reason why is that we are putting ourselves down with many avoidance-oriented goals. If we turn our goals into building our positives instead of focusing on avoiding our negatives we release happy hormones that reward us with good feelings. We feel better about ourselves and want to continue keeping our goals.

Thinking positively makes us happier and more successful

Destructive Thought Patterns

Most of us step into a place of “destructive thought patterns” when we look at things we need to change. The number one New Year’s Resolution of 2023 is to exercise more. (News10 ABC) We look at our life and say we need to exercise more, set a number of days per week, and a length of time for each day. For example, “I will exercise twenty minutes a day, five days a week.” Then life hits and we miss a day or have to cut a session short, or we get sick or we discover that our body is not ready for twenty minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week and we have injured ourselves, or something else happens. The next thing we know we have looked at the past few weeks, discovered we only met our goal a couple of times, and declare ourselves a failure and quit.

Positive Thought Patterns

We can flip this into a place of “positive thought patterns” and change our whole world. Let’s look again at the resolution to exercise more. First, look at how you are exercising already. This doesn’t just mean going to the gym. Are you walking the dog? Here’s an example of a positive thought pattern. “While I am walking the dog, I will increase my exercise by going a little further down the road. I will walk a little faster for the count of twenty steps. I will do two extra squats. When I arrive home, I will stop and notice that I did a little better today. If I am in a hurry, I will acknowledge that I took the dog out today and that’s a win!” Some days that’s all we can do and that means that we are doing it!

Reward stickers

If we stop and think about the things that we (or teachers) do to help make kids feel successful, we can apply those things to our goals. Make a chart and get some stickers. Who says we have outgrown smiley face stickers or gold stars? We always praise a child for their achievements and give encouragement for the rough spots. When was the last time you gave yourself an, “oops, try again” pep talk? If you need help finding ways to improve self-talk or communicating positively with your family members and others, stop by, we offer classes that can help.

Improve by 1%

Build yourself by focusing on the positives you are doing. After you exercise you may feel tired, even a little sore, but you also feel that sense of accomplishment. Notice when you do better. Make your goal to improve tiny things by one percent. In 2003 Dave Brailsford changed British Cycling. For almost one hundred years they had been mediocre. Top bike manufacturers wouldn’t even sell their bikes to teams because they didn’t want anyone to see them using their equipment and performing so badly. Brailsford committed to a strategy he called “the aggregation of marginal gains.”

Brailsford said,

“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

Marginal Gains: This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent (jamesclear.com)

And so Brailsford and his team began making the tiniest of improvements. They got seats that were more comfortable, rubbed alcohol on their tires so they got better grips, they even got heated shorts so that their muscles were kept at the ideal temperature. Some more tiny improvements included discovering which muscle rub worked the best, learning how to wash their hands in the most effective way to avoid catching a cold, and painting the inside of the team truck white so that dust and dirt that might mess up the tuning on their bikes would be easier to spot. They even invested time and effort into discovering each person’s ideal pillow and mattress in order to ensure the best night’s sleep.

All of these things and more turned them into incredible winners. Five years later at the 2008 Olympic games they won an amazing 60% of the gold medals. Four years after that they set nine Olympic records and seven world records! And they won even more individual races.

Success is the Sum of Moments

Start by applying one percent to the choices you make, one percent is hardly even noticeable, it may simply be that you chose a parking spot one space further away from your destination than the other, but if you do this every single day those extra steps add up. James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits” said,

Most people love to talk about success (and life in general) as an event. We talk about losing 50 pounds or building a successful business or winning the Tour de France as if they are events. But the truth is that most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things one percent better or one percent worse. Aggregating these marginal gains makes a difference. There is power in small improvements and slow gains.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Success is built on moments

Stop looking at your goals as events, make them minor improvements on the fabulous things you do every day, and the next thing you know you will be a game changer! As your life and attitude improve, it will affect those around you and your world will be changed all because you made a one percent positive change every day.