Goals always feel good until, suddenly, they don’t. According to research, only 9.2% of people actually achieved the goals they set for 2017. So, if your method of goal-setting mirrors what you have done in previous years, there’s a big chance of experiencing another year of unaccomplished goals, glaring at you from the sidelines as you attempt to finally own this thing called life.  Who needs that? Not me. Not you. It’s time to grab your goals by the hand, lead them to the dance floor, and experience the beauty of shifting each grueling step into a dance along the way to the best version of you! 

 It’s time for a change, right now, and I say this with love. Your mind is what’s holding you back and if you truly want to make a change, we’re going to have to start there. Typically, when people make resolutions, they are under the assumption that their willpower is strong enough this time to create the change that it couldn’t in the past. Unfortunately, old habits are difficult to change. So, we often have to trick the mind to obtain our goals by addressing both the mental beliefs and physical actions that are necessary to shift previous limiting habits into more positive ones. For example, creating a gym membership is an action that puts one in a space to generate a new habit. Being in the gym on a consistent basis, will help you to achieve your physical goals. However, you will need to shift your negative beliefs to get you out of your home and in the gym on a daily basis to begin to actually set the new habit in motion.

Your mind is powerful and it can either be your strongest motive force or the creator of your greatest barrier. Read on to discover the three areas of your life to conquer if you really want to push past what has limited you in previous years and become one of the few people who actually achieve their resolutions.

1. Shift Your Self Talk to Create Your Reality.

Your thoughts have both positive and negative effects on your future. In a 2013 study, researchers at the Florida State University College of Medicine found that normal weight teenagers, who even thought that they were overweight, were more likely to become obese later in life. Your thoughts unconsciously become your actions and that becomes your reality.

If you had a friend who talked to you the way the voice in your head talks to you, how long would you allow the partnership to continue? Most of the time, our negative self-talk prevents us from accomplishing tasks by stealing our attention. In reality, your brain is power playing you. A great way to diminish its influence over you is to give it a fun fictional name. For example, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and I named mine Umbridge. So if my mind talks negatively to me, I imagine my brain taking the image of Umbridge. This does 2 things: It both creates an emotional distance and reduces the validity of the words. The last thing I would do is listen to Umbridge because that would be as silly as the character. Choosing a fun, fictional character can greatly reduce the mind’s power to dictate your life. Now, you could also give your positive mind a fun name. I call mine Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda. Both Umbridge and Master Oogway are always going to be there. But sometimes constructive criticism gives you motivation to work harder just like it was because of Umbridge that Harry, Ron and Hermione created Dumbledore’s Army. Therefore, at any one point do not fight either of these voices, embrace both and figure out which one is useful to you at that moment.

2. Improve Your Health with Forgiveness.

Feelings of hurt, guilt, and disappointment all have an enormous physical burden on your body. These chronic emotions activate the fight or flight response in your body because the physical body interprets these emotions as signs of danger. Part of this response is increased heart rate which, overtime, leads to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate which are linked to severe heart conditions.

We all have past baggage that we deal with and sometimes this keep us from being our most free selves. Alicia D’Annunzio, co-founder of the Youth of Transformational Leadership Conference, shares, “I found that the thing I dwell on the most is regretting the things I’ve done to hurt others. I knew that I never intend to cause any harm, and I’ve always wondered if other people felt the same way. It seems like some people genuinely enjoy doing bad things, but the truth is life is much more complex than this. There are no good guys and bad guys like our childhood fairytales teach us. We have to learn that things happen, and we can’t let our trials and tribulations prevent us from moving forward in our lives.”

It is very important to give others the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone has mal intentions and there could be something else driving them. This of course does not remove the responsibility of others to be nice but it does stop you from holding a grudge and feeling prolonged hurt. Always remember that forgiveness is crucial because hurt people, hurt others. Remember to lean into forgiveness as often as you can. Each time you do, it’s like taking a multivitamin that fuels both your body and your spirit.

3. Reclaim Your Focus.

As beneficial as technology is, it does take a hit on your focus. The human attention span has decreased to 8 seconds, officially putting us behind goldfish.

Due to alerts and notifications, we check our phones every few seconds. This certainly cuts our productivity in half. Alex Westerlund, a philosophy major at Ohio State University, shared a simple hack that you can do, which is to keep your phone in the back pocket of your non dominant side. For example, if you are right handed, then you most likely keep your phone in the right back pocket of your jeans, and now it’s become a reflex action to take out the phone. But by keeping the phone in your left back pocket of your jeans, you actually break that reflex and you will start to become aware of how many times you check your phone. If you often carry a handbag, then try placing your phone in a zipped section or inside a smaller wallet that would prolong the time it would take for you to get to your phone. This inconvenience would prevent you from pulling out your phone just to kill “idle time.” Another quick tip is to actually switch off your unimportant notifications and allot time in your schedule where you will only check messages. This will help you be conscious of the amount of time you spend on your phone being unproductive so you can use the rest of the time to be productive and connect to others around you.

Singer and songwriter Katy Perry stated, ‘I don’t like to set a time frame of new beginnings. I just take my life one day at a time and continually try to evolve and become a better version of myself.’’ At times making long term goals can be daunting, but just by focusing on one day at a time, consistency can develop. According to research, it takes 66 days for a new habit to become automatic.  So, keep dancing toward the best version of you and show up every single day!  Keep at your goals for more than 2 months, and see them transform your life.