Healthy Beginnings

Embrace the new goal-achieving you with a ‘You-2018’ approach

If your goal is to get stronger in your yoga practice by performing a headstand successfully for 60 seconds, take to it with a “You-2018” approach.

The new year is about new beginnings and our desire for becoming healthier, more skilled, physically fit, happier, wealthier.

Everyone has various challenges to remaining committed to New Year goals and vision. If you have strayed from your 2018 plan for goal achievement, it’s important not to dwell on this by playing the shame-blame game (revisit the January 2018 article in Healthy Beginnings Magazine, “The path to self actualization: Removing obstacles that keep you disconnected,” by Van Harding).

Spring is in the air and every day is an opportunity to start fresh with clarity on why you want to achieve your vision and goals for 2018.

Setting a goal is not enough to motivate us to achieve that goal. Sure, motivation works for a little while, but soon that goal of losing 10 pounds or eating healthier loses meaning when the repetition becomes challenging, we have a few off days, get busy with chores, work, school assignments, family and we get off course.

Success in goal and vision achievement takes time, extending beyond 2018. Changing behaviors through creating new neural pathways requires consistent repetition; creating a new habit can take 21 to 250 days, so if we rely on motivation alone we probably won’t achieve our goals.

Believing that we are capable of the habit that is required to attain our goal is what ultimately drives us toward goal achievement and beyond to attaining our vision.

We must determine why we want to attain a goal — become very clear on our “why.” Neuroscience research indicates that clarity on our why, our vision, will decrease any uncertainty and improve our intrinsic motivation.

A helpful strategy is to write it down and be very specific on that new 2018 version of you — You-2018 — as if you already are that version with the characteristics, habits, knowledge and skills you desire.

Feel what that feels like in your mind and body and include as many sensations as possible. Determining who that person is that you want to become is more valuable in the success of attaining a goal than in thinking, “I have to make more money” or “I want to lose weight.”

Adopting the behaviors of You-2018 will take time because it’s the repetition of a task or skill that builds neural pathways for creating new positive and powerful habits. A helpful strategy is a “marathon” versus a “sprint” mindset — begin slowly by incorporating one new tactic at a time.

If one of your goals is to lose 10 pounds of body weight, be clear on your reason why you want to achieve this goal. Perhaps it’s because your You-2018 feels healthy, vibrant, physically fit, confident and successful.

Then determine one strategy to incorporate it into your life, i.e.: “You-2018 is physically fit and eats an apple for a snack instead of ice cream.” or “You-2018 is physically fit and moves often throughout the day.”

If your goal is to get stronger in your yoga practice by performing a headstand successfully for 60 seconds, begin with “You-2018 works on their headstand every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Once you have a clear why and know your You-2018 version, have a strategy in place, it’s time to get into the flow of the emotions and maintaining the momentum by not getting overcome by fear.

Instead of allowing fear to take over, recall your why and your vision of You-2018. Get excited about achieving You-2018 without becoming over-excited or anxious about staying on track.

The visualization process is a critical component of creating new neural pathways. Our brain is powerful and when you are unable to practice a specific skill physically, then visualize yourself performing the skill successfully over and over.

Visualization is also a powerful way of becoming your new up-leveled and goal-achieving You-2018. If it’s a specific skill you are working toward, visualizing the specific area of the body or the muscles that work to perform that skill sends micro stimulation to those muscles as if you are physically performing the skill.

Creating strong neural pathways requires doing the same things correctly over and over and then practice until you cannot get it wrong.

Dr. Karla Moore is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified as a Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, specializing in Pelvic Health and solutions to persistent pain conditions. She is the owner of NeuroFit Wellness & Physical Therapy in Reno. Contact her at RenoNeuroFit@gmail.com or 775-863-8766. Visit www.RenoNeuroFit.com to learn more.