Create a Vocabulary for Success

I look forward to the new year and the resolutions it brings.  Although I think it is important to establish and reestablish goals throughout the year, there is just something special about the first of January (or sixth of February) that adds to the excitement of setting a new goal for myself.

Statistically speaking, I’m not the only one to feel this way, as 45% of all Americans resolve to better their lives this time of year.  To be honest, though, I don’t know why this number isn’t higher.  Why aren’t more people making resolutions?  Perhaps it’s because they’ve made them before and have become discouraged by repeated failures.

If you’ve not yet resolved to make a life change, what has kept you from doing so?  And if you’ve made one in the past and been unable to keep it, why?

There are probably dozens of reasons why you, me, and others have, in the past, had difficulty seeing our resolutions through to fruition.  But I want to discuss just two of what I feel are the more important reasons we’ve had difficulty succeeding.

One of the most important questions I ask a client is, “What concerns do you have with your health, fitness, nutrition, and body?”  The most typical response is, at best, vague. Following is a sampling of statements I often hear clients make (perhaps you yourself have made them).

“I’d like to lose weight.”
“I want to be fit.”
“I hope to get in shape.”
“I wish I could finally shed my baby weight.”

The first thing I listen for is a client’s word choice.  The words someone chooses to use often reflect their level of commitment and, ultimately, the level of success in accomplishing their goals.  In the Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Dr. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews share the Commitment Continuum.

When it comes to your words, what level of commitment do they reveal about you?  Since discovering this continuum, I’ve become more selective in my word choice, both in what I say to myself and to others.  Words reflect your attitude.  But not only do words reflect your attitude, they can change it.

When I was younger, I would say “I wish . . .”, to which my grandfather would respond, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”  If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it’s a Scottish proverb and nursery rhyme that suggests if wishing could make things happen, then even the most destitute person would have everything he or she wanted.

On one end of the continuum you’ve “Wish”.  Wishing is wanting something that cannot or probably will not happen.  On the other, you’ve “Commit”.  Committing is to carry something out.  This involves action.  Wishing, I believe, involves rainbows and unicorns.

Where do stand (or speak) along this continuum?  Are you one that if asked about your goal would wish or hope for a particular outcome?  Take the first step today and state (better yet, write it down) your resolution.  Go ahead, I’ll wait. “I, state your name, will commit to . . ..”  Most excellent.

A popular quote among my peers is “Deeds, not words.” Ultimately, it is more about what you do than what you say, but your change in attitude and action can come from a word.  What is that word—your word?  What will you commit to doing this year?  Please share yours with me and with those in your social circle that will support you.  May next year find you leaner, stronger, wealthier, and healthier than the last!