You know that thing that you’ve been struggling with? That thing that you’ve determined will not beat you in 2020? This is YOUR year to finally get it done.

I have struggled with weight and fitness for what feels like my whole life. I can remember, vividly, at the ages of 12 and 13 thinking I needed to go on a diet, lose weight, be smaller… I did not need to do any of those things at that age, but the thoughts were already percolating.

Later, as I headed to college and eventually into OD school that had definitely changed. And so, I spent the next 20 years in a battle with myself, setting goals, losing pounds, quitting goals, gaining back the pounds. Frankly, it was demoralizing. Don’t get me wrong, slowly and over time I was making progress. But the progress wasn’t what I was focused on, instead, I was focusing on the failures.

In early 2019 I was set, once again, to make headway on the goal of being fit in my forties. (Only fitting since I was turned 40 last January!) I started focusing on nutrition; fasting daily by skipping breakfast, focusing on more whole foods and less processed junk, and paying more attention to how what I ate made me feel. I purposely didn’t start working out right away. I knew from previous experience that the more I bit off at once, the more likely I was to be overwhelmed and quit.

Finally, after a couple of weeks, I was ready to start working out. I felt really good about myself as I completed my first “leg day” workout. It was a little challenging, but I did it!

The next day I could barely walk! (Sorry if this next bit is too much information for some of you, but don’t pretend you’ve never been there…) For the next week, I could not get up from the toilet unassisted! Literally, having to pee was like a form of creative torture.

Eventually, the muscle soreness (excruciating pain) subsided and I learned a few valuable lessons over the past year that have helped me actually stick to that resolution that I had this time last year to get fit at 40.

If you made some resolutions, in life or in your practice, for this year I want you to CRUSH them and maybe what I’ve learned by finally succeeding in a goal I have failed at one hundred times, can help you get there.

Goals are necessary but can be painful at times.

Whether your goal, like mine, was to get fit, run a marathon, or to increase optical sales, introduce a new service or improve staff training in your office, it will probably be a painful journey. There will be obstacles. There will be setbacks. You will lose motivation at some point. The alternative, though, is staying right where you are at this moment.

Instead of expecting it to be easy and giving up at the first obstacle, know that it will be difficult and make a plan for how you’ll deal with those obstacles from the start. Plan what you will do when you lose motivation and how to attack those setbacks. Don’t just wing it. Think of all that could get in your way and know how you’ll get through it before you start.

Choose the right time to start.

New year’s goals and resolutions are all the rage. Everyone sets them but studies show that by two weeks into the new year over 20% have already abandoned them and only 19% will stick with them over the long haul. Yikes!

When I started working towards my 2019 goal I knew that January was not the time to start. January is very busy in my practice and my birthday in January meant a weekend away. My sole purpose for travel is food, so trying to maintain good nutrition was not going to happen. I decided to start in mid-February instead.

Pay attention to when the best time to start working towards your 2020 goals will be. I don’t know about you, but my nature is to jump in with both feet immediately. That rarely serves me well when I want to build something or make changes to something long-term. Don’t be like me. Don’t just make a goal, make a plan for when you are most likely to be successful.

Practice progress over perfection.

What I really learned over the past year is that perfection is a myth and I stopped shaming myself when I couldn’t be perfect in my nutrition or workout schedule.

Newsflash… you won’t be perfect in getting to your goal either. You’ll screw up, not meet a deadline, and feel like a failure. When that happens I want you to repeat this mantra to yourself… progress over perfection.

As long as you are making progress towards your goal you have zero reasons to feel guilty about how fast it is happening, or how many mistakes you’ve made. Your one and only job is progress. That was a hard one for me to accept, but accepting it has been life-changing.

What I have realized overall in the last year is that I have to take anything I want to accomplish one day at a time, take it slow and focus on the progress.

What goals have you set for 2020? I’d love to know all the amazing things you have planned so I can cheer for you along the way. This is the year you accomplish everything you set your mind to!