Who Do You Have to Be?

by Michael Plank

January 10. All those goals and resolutions are pretty close to hitting their first friction points, if they haven’t yet.

Eating a salad every day, stretching every day, journaling every day… all that is easy for the first 3 days. But eventually a day will come when you’re too busy or too tired or too preoccupied for that thing you said you would do every day, and it’ll become really easy to let it fall through the cracks.

I was talking with someone today who suggested reframing those goals a little bit.

Instead of saying “I’m going to stretch every day,” shift that to thinking of yourself as a person who stretches.

When you think of a person who stretches… what is that person like? How do they carry themselves? How do they move? How do they structure their time? What happens when they miss a day?

Chances are good you are already the kind of person who does something. You’re the kind of person who eats dinners with their family, or the kind of person who brushes their teeth, or the kind of person who watches Netflix or uses an iPhone.

I’m the co-owner of a gym. I’m a person who exercises.

That means I’ve done the work to figure out a schedule where I can fit exercise in on a regular basis. It means that I make it a priority to move my body. It means that I’ve removed a lot of friction points that get in the way: I don’t mind being sore, I know where my gym shoes are, I’ve gotten coaches to tell me what to do.

Does that mean that I NEVER miss a workout? Nope. I miss workouts. Does it mean that I LOVE every workout I do? Nope (just ask the people who were in the 4pm class that I attended yesterday). Does it mean that I NEVER struggle with motivation? Also, no. It just means that I’m a person who exercises. If I miss a day, no big deal. If I’m not feeling that workout, no big deal. Maybe I’ll do something else. Maybe I’ll do it even though I hate it. But I’ll do something. And I’ll do it consistently (if not religiously) week in, week out, year in, year out. Because I’m a person who exercises.

So if you see the shame spiral of a “failed” resolution looming on the horizon, stop holding yourself to impossible standards. Don’t make your goal to never miss a day. Just ask yourself what kind of person you would need to be to accomplish that goal, and then fake it ’til you make it and go be that kind of person.