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I am willing to be that you, like me, will start the New Year with a whole list of goals and a basketful of good intentions. Even as I write this I am using the Three Resolutions goal sheet to create the plans that represent the goals that represent the strategies that I have for the next 12 months. I do so in the knowledge that some will be achieved, some will be progressed but not completed – and others may fail. That is in the nature of ‘life’ and certainly in the nature of sport. (Don’t get me started on why a manager gets sacked when the players are failing, when ultimately if no-one failed we’d have a very boring sports channel.)

Life is full of challenges, obstacles and interruptions that stop, delay or cause us to change, our goals. If life didn’t do that we wouldn’t need goals and we certainly wouldn’t need plans. Most of life’s hiccoughs we overcome, by pass, tunnel under or just smash to one side. A wall, a diversion, whatever gets in our way, we address and vanquish.

But the biggest of those life challenges is, unfortunately for is, very intimate. It knows us only too well, knows which buttons to press and really focuses on pressing them. It really does play to our weaknesses, if we let it. That challenge is (come on, you know this by now….)

Us.

On January the 1st a lot of us will declare that we will exercise more and will eat less. And, as Hyrum put it, by 1.30pm we’re sat in the fridge. The Reticular Activating System, which normally serves us with identifying our goal opportunities, now backfires. Now that ‘food’ is a non-goal, the RAS still kicks in and identifies food opportunities whenever it sees something that sparks its well-trained alarm system. Bless it, it doesn’t realise that we don’t want to see those opportunities. We seem unable to communicate to the RAS – which doesn’t listen – that what we wanted once we no longer want. The RAS doesn’t understand DON’T or WON’T. When we say ‘I don’t want food’ it hears ‘I want food.’ Even if it’s not that clever, it hears, notices and echoes ‘food’ right back at us. With a cheery grin.

That’s when Resolution 1 needs to be strong. It’s when we have to rely on our consciousness of our conscience, and make a firm decision NOT to do something our psyche aches for.

Overcome your appetites and passions from the very first day, the very first moment you decide what you want. Overcome that tendency to settle for the easy road, which you can coast along but doesn’t necessarily get you from where you are to where you want to be.

Now, having gone a**e over t%t when a dog did a Diego Costa on me during my run yesterday, slamming an already weakened wrist, an elbow, a hip and an only-just-repaired knee into the tarmac, I have a decision to make today. Resolution 1 says RUN. Only if my conscience genuinely believes that more repair is needed, should I delay the routine, long Sunday run. If, on the other hand, the pain of the road rash is gone and the knee remains as it is as I write this entry – then off I will go this afternoon. I have two goals that depend upon me doing my very best.

Will you listen to your conscience as you write down and then execute on your 2016 goals? Don’t write down a goal you know, in your heart, you will fail to execute. That way lies persistent failure and lowered self-esteem. Find and set a goal that challenges you to exercise self-discipline – or self-denial – and execute on it from Day 1.

Your character will develop as a by-product and that can’t be bad, can it?

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