Setting the bar


I used to be a pole vaulter for Blevins Junior High School.

The minimum height to even compete in a meet was seven and a half feet. I never cleared it. Not once. Not even in practice. Tragically, the next year they actually made me the pole vaulter player-coach so I could teach the others how to vault (we didn’t do too well that season).

The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t pole vault. The problem was that the bar was too high. Lower the bar and I could have cleared it with no problem.

Which brings me to New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions get broken because people set the bar too high. Lower the bar and the year gets off to a roaring start. Set easy goals. Go for early successes. You’ll be happier.

You want to lose weight? Fine. We have heard you say that before. This year, how about declaring there is no way you are going to gain fifty more pounds? Similar theme, but easier to attain.

Instead of “being nicer to people”, say that you will definitely, absolutely not slug someone in the face during the entire month of January. That’s an early success and by the first of February you’re all done for the year.

Instead of doing better at your job, set your sights on doing a better job of say, napping. You will discover that not only will you be able to comply, you will also be well rested. Win-win.

If you really want to feel good about your resolutions, try lowering the bar all the way. Do nothing different and by December 31, 2013 you will have accomplished all you set out to do twelve months earlier. There is great satisfaction in not only achieving your goal, but being able to sustain it for an entire year.

Try it and you will single-handedly lower your stress levels. You will avoid the inevitable resolution failures all your friends will face. In a world of people saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” you know you can. There is power in that. And who knows?

One day, you might even be named player-coach.


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