How to Prepare Yourself to Attack Your New Year’s Resolutions

For many of us, the thought of setting goals and New Year’s Resolutions can boarder on scraping your nails across a chalk board. It just doesn’t seem like fun.

And not because you don’t have aspirations of getting better. Most of us WANT to achieve greater things in life, whether that be in health, wealth, relationships and so on. However, because you’ve probably come up short of your goals more often than not, at some point you become numb to the idea of trying and failing again.

While it seems like this article is going to be some hype-you-up, you-can-do-it, give-it-your-best type of content, I assure you it’s not. While external motivation can help in spurts, it is not sustainable. Motivation is like a bath. Once you get one, you feel great and refreshed. But eventually, you need to take another bath to get that feeling back. Same goes with motivation.

While I’ve already written on what is missing in your process of setting New Year’s Resolutions, I won’t cover that part here. No, what I want to present to you today is some tactical advice on PREPARING yourself for pursuing goals and resolutions.

We Talkin’ ‘Bout PRACTICE!!

For those of you who are old enough to remember, the great Allen Iverson once became infamous for defacing the most important part of any process of success…practice.

Yes, practice is important in just about any arena of achievement. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he makes the connection between performers of the world and the amount of practice they endured to get where they are. On average, Gladwell shows, professionals practice for 10,000 hours before you and I see what they’ve become.

Take Tiger Woods as an example. For anybody looking on the outside, it may seem like Tiger was a physical anomaly. He showed up on the PGA tour at the ripe old age of 20, seemingly out of nowhere. At that age, you have to be physically blessed to be that talented, right?!

Well, maybe. That definitely plays a part in it. What you didn’t see before Tiger showed up at 20 years-old was the previous 18 years of hard work.

Yes, 18 years! Tiger’s father gave him a golf club at the age of 2, purposefully teaching him how to putt and drive as he got older. Sound crazy? Maybe. But you know who Tiger Woods is, don’t you?

If we go by the 10,000 hour rule, it would take Tiger 14 years to reach that threshold if he practiced at least 2 hours a day. If he started at 2 years old, that takes him to age 16. Considering he didn’t go pro until age 20, it seems that Tiger was actually slower than most professionals that fall into the 10,000 hour rule. 

What Does Tiger Woods Have to do with New Year’s Resolutions?

The point here is not that you need to practice 10,000 hours and become a professional golfer (unless, of course, that’s your goal). The point is to show the importance of purposeful practice.

But most of us only think of practice in terms of sports and athletics. However, practice is not only for physical abilities. It’s equally as important for developing mental abilities.

Which brings us to setting New Year’s Resolutions. Many of us come short on our resolutions because of our ability to endure mental pain. Typically, the pain comes from failure of some sort.

Maybe you failed to eat clean during a business lunch…

Or maybe you failed to go workout first thing in the morning…

No matter what your failure is, the reason you’re not able to push through that failure is because you haven’t practiced enduring discomfort.

What it Means to Endure Discomfort

The world we live in today leaves it hard to believe that, at some point in the distant past, we didn’t have easy access to fresh water.

Actually, forget about fresh water even. It was only a couple of hundred years ago that we didn’t have automobiles.

And, only a couple of decades ago, we didn’t have the fancy pocket computers that we all carry around.

In other words, our world has become so cozy and comfortable, it’s no wonder we have a hard time with discomfort when it pops up.

Think about the last time you forgot your phone at home. What was the feeling you had? Did you get super anxious? Did your heart start racing? Why?

We’re so sensitive to even the smallest discomfort because our environment affords us so much convenience. So much so that it can be painful to live without those luxuries (and everything that you have is a luxury) when they’re gone.

What you need to do, then, is build your discomfort muscle. You need to be able to endure discomfort when you’re confronted with it. This way you can laugh failure in the face the next time it pops up!

How to Endure Discomfort Through Practice

If you look up the definition of endurance, you’ll find a bunch of fancy terminology explaining the physiology of the body and so on and so forth and blah blah blah.

While that may be the technical definition of endurance, I like a more practical definition given by a physiology professor named Samuele Marcora. Professor Marcora defines endurance as “the struggle to continue against a mounting desire to stop”.

Think of the last time you tried to lose weight or get in shape or save money. As you tried and failed and tried and failed, your ability to endure that failure defined how many times you tried to succeed.

In other words, the longer you were able to push through failure after failure, the more likely your chances of reaching your goal.

So, what can you do to start to build your discomfort muscles and make progress toward your resolutions in 2019? It’s time to start building in Daily Discomfort Practice (or DDP).

Building in Daily Discomfort Practice

Think of DDP as your gateway to success. Achieving your resolution will require you to push through one, 4, 10, or 100 failures. Your ability to be comfortable with those failures will define if you’re going to succeed or ultimately fail.

Your DDP, then, is your daily dose of discomfort, just big enough to make you uncomfortable, but small enough to not scare you away.

What makes you uncomfortable will be different than what makes your neighbor uncomfortable. So, some of this will be personalized.

However, there are some general possible discomforts that we all have that you can implement into your DDP.

#1) Cold Therapy

It’s unlikely that you jump out of bed in the morning and think “I can’t wait to jump into the nice, cold shower”. That’s because, like most things in life, we crave warm showers because they bring us comfort.

A DDP you can implement, then, is incorporating a bit of cold to the beginning of your shower to help build your discomfort muscles.

How does this work?

Our whole world is climate controlled. From your house to your car to the office (at least for most of us). We all live in the comfort zone. Putting cold therapy into your day simply allows you to be uncomfortable for a short period of time, in a purely controlled environment. 

Forcing yourself to live with the cold for, say, 3 minutes tells your mind that YOU’RE in control. And when you’re in control, then you are able to push through discomfort much easier.

#2) Put your phone on airplane mode

Okay, this one seems silly. But hear me out…

We are so connected to the world around us, it’s to fathom not being able to find an answer to your question in 10 seconds or less. The thought of being disconnected, then, might make you uncomfortable, if only for a short period of time.

To help relieve yourself of this attachment issue, put your phone on airplane mode for an hour a day. Notice how you feel when you do it. Are you nervous? Does your heart race?

The more and more you do this, the more free you will be to enjoy life and also work on your goals!

#3) Push yourself for one more rep

If you played sports in high school, you probably remember your coaching encouraging you to play to the whistle or run through the finish line or play hard until the buzzer sounds.

As simple as these words seem, it’s human nature to let up when you see the end in sight.

Which is why, the next time you’re in Metabolic class, you shouldn’t pay attention to the timer. Don’t even look up. Be comfortable living in the darkness.

Or, when you’re taking TKC, make yourself do one more getup. Or push yourself to go 2 seconds longer than the beep.

It’s these little acts that build up over time and make you resilient. Most of us think in terms of absolutes. Either you’re eating healthy or you’re not. Either you’re working out or you’re not.

But there are very few things in this world that are black and white…VERY few. And if you can start to build a cumulative mindset instead of an absolute mindset, you’ll start to make progress you’ve never encountered before. 

If you’re ready to push your endurance and build your discomfort muscle, 

secure your spot to the NKY New Year’s Revolution Summit

and have the best 2019 possible!

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