MO’s New Years Message 2022 – Part 1 of 4

The New Year is the most historically and universally recognized holiday. Regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, country or culture, there has always been this common recognition for celebrating a fresh start and the hope and possibilities for the future. A New Year is a time to reflect on the experiences and lessons learned from the past year based upon which we can re-envision the trajectory of how we want to shape our lives and careers in this next year. Most people start by making New Year’s resolutions – which is a traditional activity for the New Year. While I commend you for the desire to make a New Year’s Resolution for self-improvement, this may not be the best approach to take, and I will explain why. I hope you are just as excited as I am to welcome 2022 and make a fresh start. This blog is the first in a four-part series where I share with you a new approach to setting intentions and creating change in your life which will MO’ve us all forward in a more purposeful and stable direction in our careers, relationships and lives this coming year!

Year after year, the evidence shows that most people give up on their resolutions before much time has passed in the new year. One study, reports approximately 80% of Canadians fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. That means only about 20% are successful. The top resolutions made by Canadians fall into three areas: physical health, weight loss and eating habits. One of the many issues with the traditional New Year’s resolution approach is that we make resolutions that are too big, too unclear, and directed by someone else’s opinion and values or something external to us. We believe that by following the norm – make more money, lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier etc. will solve our problems, make us “happier”, more successful and help us find greater fulfilment. However, these goals are disconnected from honest fulfilment and being true to yourself. There must be a better way. And there is. But what might an alternative approach look like?

Being a fitness industry leader for the last four decades, I have seen many examples of New Year’s resolution attempts over the year. However, research on New Year’s resolutions shows that those who make approach-based goals are more successful in achieving their intended results, compared to those who set avoidance-based goals. An approach-based goal is one that is directed towards achieving a positive outcome, while an avoidance-based goal is one that is directed towards avoiding a negative outcome. These two types of goals have two corresponding types of MO’tivation (one of my favourite topics, of course!): approach motivation and avoidance motivation (Wimmer et al., 2018), which influence feelings and emotions that drive behaviour.

This year I would encourage you to take an alternative approach to setting your direct for 2022. Start with WHY. This approach connects to the approach-based goal setting and approach motivation. Simon Sinek who wrote the book Start with Why describes a person’s WHY as a deep, driving purpose, belief, or cause, that motivates the actions we take in the work we do, our learning and our life. In the book, Start with Why, Sinek (2009) presents a framework called The Golden Circle which has three rights: the Why, the How and the What. The Why is the inner circle, the How is the middle circle and the What is the outer circle. Most people will take an outside in approach and take action by setting goals they think will make them happier and their lives better when they are accomplished. However, Sinek (2009) flips this paradigm and suggests we follow an inside-out approach – find your Why or start with Why and work your way outwards through the How and the What.

Another person who I follow and from whom I have learned a great deal about finding or, as he says, remembering your “WHY” is Canada’s #WHYGUY Gerry Visca.

The thing about your WHY is that you never lost it. It has and always will be a part of you. This makes the “resolution” to change not so much about reaching for an external goal or trying to meet a specific standard expectation set by society, but about doing something that comes from within you that is aligned with the reason for your existence. Can you see the difference that this shift in perspective will make to how you approach and re-vision your goals and outlook on 2022? When you know and start with WHY it does not matter what happens in the world around you, there will always be a way.

Interested in learning more about re-connecting with your WHY in 2022? Check out the feature article I co-authored for the January/February 2022 canfitpro member magazine. In this article, you will learn how to create your WHY statement and the science between WHY work and goals.

 “I exist to MO’ve people and businesses forward by positively influencing change so that people are inspired to live their true purpose”. This is my WHY statement and I am proud to serve the world in this way. Knowing WHY fuels my passion to work and live with intention.  Knowing and declaring your WHY will help you do the same.

We are coming out of a prolonged time of isolation, stress, and individuality. If you want to make a significant positive change this year and accomplish some big goals, I strongly encourage you to find a network of support and build alliances with those who will help you rise. One reason resolutions fail is the “go it alone” approach. Collaborative action and social support are integral to helping you go further. Research also shows that social support is linked to reduced stress and can promote health and wellbeing, which will be an important focus for 2022.

Consider becoming a canfitpro member this year. A canfitpro membership is for anyone – you do not have to be a fitness professional! By belonging to canfitpro, you are becoming part of a community of committed health and wellness enthusiasts, influencers, and professionals. Besides being part of a thriving community of people interested in supporting the health and fitness of Canadians, you will have access to exclusive benefits, discounts on conferences and training with canfitpro and other partners. The passion and the energy that exudes from this community is unlike anything I have ever experienced. The power of community within the fitness industry is the reason I have made it my career for the past four decades – and I don’t have plans for MO’ving on or changing that anytime!  

Happy New Year everyone! I would love to know your WHY. Share on social media and tag me @mo_hagan and @canfitpro. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this January Blog series coming next week!

Reference: Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why. Penguin Group.