It always amazes me how the flip of a calendar page sends people into hyper drive to change their ways in the New Year. I always liken it to the art on an Etch-a-Sketch pad. With the shake of the plastic toy, you simply wipe it clean and move on to your next endeavor.
I’m not a huge movie buff, but for some reason, Bill Murray’s “What About Bob” movie has lingered in my brain since its premiere in 1991. Bill Murray portrays a neurotic New Yorker (Bob) with multiple phobias, and Richard Dreyfuss is the egocentric psychiatrist, Dr Marvin, who has no idea what awaits him when he pulls his own, best selling novel, Baby Steps, off of the bookshelf to give to Bob. The book’s premise is about setting small, reasonable goals to achieve bigger ones. He uses the example of Bob just focusing on getting out of the room versus getting out of the building. Once he gets out of the building, Bob then employs the baby steps technique to coax himself to get on a bus….well, you can see where this is going.
Like “Dr Marvin,” I encourage people to set short-term goals, also referred to as process goals. Examples include:
Walking 20 minutes a day, 2x/week
Taking the stairs at work, exclusively
Using 1% milk instead of 2%
Once you have identified these process goals, you can better establish long-term goals, also called outcome goals. Outcome goals measure the end result, and not how you got there. Examples include:
Losing 5 pounds in 10 weeks
Dropping one pant or dress size
Having an AIC level of 6.3 the next time the doctor checks it
A series of short goals should eventually lead to successfully meeting one major long-term goal. Achieving small, short-term goals will keep you motivated to keep going. Small changes do add up!
Eventually, Bill Murray’s character is able to verbalize: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.” How great an assimilation is that?
On a final note, do you know that the word, Sophia, means wisdom in Greek? With a name like that bestowed upon me, how can I not be filled with sound advice!
Wishing you good health in the New Year!