Every New Year's millions of people make "resolutions".
However, if we look at the above definition, many of us are not making resolutions. We're making goals.
Losing ___ pounds. Running ____ miles. Bench pressing ____ pounds.
These are goals. These are potential achievements. These are tasks that end after they are reached.
It's not necessary a solution to a problem or a true lifestyle change.
It's almost more of an internal ego battle. A way for our brains to tell ourselves, "I told you so". Then after reaching the goal, the brain sits back and lets the old habits resume.
Choose a Process Instead
Instead of aspiring to reach a goal, we should aspire to change. But instead of focusing on the outcome of the change, we should focus on the process.
Process oriented change is more robust and effective.
- Allows success on a daily basis
- Doesn't depend on reaching an end goal
- Is ephemeral - keeps you in the present (not the future)
- Can be infinite, which leads to true change
- A failure can be redeemed the next day, or the next time the process choice occurs (easy to get back on the wagon)
- May be a keystone habit that improves other areas of life
Let's use exercise as a quick example.
Focusing on the process of exercising allows us the opportunity to have success everyday. It's not dependent on a physical appearance or a numerical achievement.
With a process focused approach there's no impending future failure or delayed gratification. Instead, there's always potential success and instant gratification. We're always one decision away from achieving our intent.
Going to the gym today is a success, even if we didn't go at all last week.
Hell, even walking up the stairs can be reframed as exercise. And with this perspective, we can start making progress at every moment. #TheLittleThings #Reframe #DailyExercise #TrustTheProcess
*I think a key to this approach is making sure we reinforce the positive choices or actions that allows us to feel the instant gratification and celebrate the small wins
Identity Based Behavior Change
One more major benefits of focusing on the process instead of the outcome is that it can lead to a new identity.
There is even a recent study on the "Batman Effect" - kids that dress up as Batman performed better at completing tasks than their normal civilian dressed peers.
For example, we don't need to become a superhero that never eats sugar. We just need to develop the part of our identity that doesn't eat a whole sleeve of oreos in one sitting.
What to Do
There's just 4 things we need to do to make a true resolution.
- Focus on the process
- Identify with the process
- Allow the process/identity to change habits/behavior
- Buy a cape
It may not be free will that is determining our decisions, but how we identify ourselves.
It's our perception of who we are that determines our choices, not our ability to consciously react to external stimuli.
By focusing on the process we will help affirm our new identities and change our perception, thus change our habits/behaviors.
It's identity based perception. It's identity based motivation. It's identity based habit change. It's identity based behavior change.
And it all just starts with identifying with the process, not the outcome.
Many kids don't have the option of dressing up as Batman to change their behavior.
Many kids are struggling just to get enough food, let alone the right food.
"45% of all child deaths worldwide are from causes related to undernutrition, or 3.1 million children a year"
Consider a small donation to the Action Against Hunger to help feed the hungry.