“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle
Welcome to 2023! I am sure many of you have been excitedly working on your goals and resolutions for the New Year. It is a very exciting time! My hope for you this year is to make it a special one, full of goodness and all the things your heart desires. I hope you chase your dreams and reach new heights. I hope you love deeper and feel more and strengthen your prized relationships. I hope 2023 is a year of MORE for you–more of the things you truly want.
With this in mind, I want this post to inspire you to set goals with a heightened vision of what you are capable of. Let me illustrate this with an example:
Take a look at your New Year’s Resolutions. Do you see things like the following…
- Drink less soda
- Eat less sweets
- Stop eating out
- Wake up earlier
Those goals are worthy of your time and attention, truly! I am not trying to be critical of anyone’s earnest efforts to improve. What if we were to make those goals specific and MORE-oriented? They would look something like the following:
- Drink MORE water–aim for one gallon a day!
- Eat MORE fruits and veggies–try to consume two servings of each daily
- Cook at home MORE–prepare home-cooked meals Mon-Fri, eat out Sat
- Get MORE sleep–go to bed earlier (11 pm) to wake up earlier (between 6:30-7:00)
Do you see the difference? Do you feel the difference between those sets of goals?!
The first set is restrictive. Eat LESS sugar. Drink LESS caffeine. Eat out LESS. Sleep in LESS. If you restrict yourself by saying LESS caffeine, it will become an off-limits thing in your mind, and you will likely feel shame when you do consume it. On the other hand, if you work to replace caffeine by reaching for water instead, you are going to fulfill your goal and help yourself avoid shame-inducing situations!
By focusing on more of what truly matters to you, you will set goals that are achievable and specific goals, and you will be motivated to reach them. The “less mindset” makes things off-limits and causes you to feel restricted, whereas a “more-mindset” is empowering and will inspire you to follow-through. Why is this? Because thinking in terms of “more” gives you infinite more options than restricting yourself by focusing on doing/consuming something less or not at all. Instead of “eating less sugar,” (restrictive, one option), there are innumerable things to consume instead that are beneficial for your health–fruit, vegetables, whole grains, vitamins, protein drinks, granola bars, nuts, legumes, apple cider vinegar, juice cleanses, etc etc etc…(a million options)! Do you see? If you focus on MORE of something good, you will inevitably participate in unhealthy habits less!
Why does this matter? Sure, you could just think, “LESS screen time, LESS scrolling on my phone, LESS fast food…” and still reach those goals. The power, however, lies in your thoughts, your intentions, and your capacity to make good choices. This is not simply about avoiding “bad” or less-desirable actions/habits, it is about actively seeking to start or form good ones. Plus, thinking in terms of MORE, not less, will allow you to make long-lasting habits out of it!
Take a look at your list again. See any “less” goals on there? Try flipping them to be MORE goals. Spend your precious time doing the things you WANT to do instead of avoiding the things you don’t want to do. Life is short. Let’s fill it up with MORE of the things we truly care about and watch as your 2023 quickly shapes up to be the year of your goals and dreams. 🙂
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
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