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Kimberley Amirault-Ryan

How to Find the Motivation to Actually Stick with Your New Year’s Resolutions

The gyms are starting to empty out, dry January is almost done, and pizza is looking like a fine addition to your regular menu — this is your four-week New Year’s resolution check-in.

90% of us will not achieve our resolutions this year — 90%! To move us into that coveted 10% of resolution achievers, we asked performance consultant to the NHL, NBA, and Olympians, Dr. Kimberley Amirault-Ryan, to share some tips on how we can find and maintain the motivation to achieve any goal.

Kimberley was the first female performance consultant for the New York Rangers, the New York Knicks, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Edmonton Oilers. She draws on her philosophy of embracing challenges and pushing boundaries to motivate even the highest of performers to achieve their fullest potential. So, it’s good to have her by your side when it’s resolution season!

Move from Finite to Limitless Goals

The first step is to change how we view our goals — instead of having a finite end we should re-frame them to be limitless. High performers, Kimberley said, embrace a beginner’s mindset. Despite knowing that they excel at certain things, they still remember that there are a thousand other little things they could be doing to become even better.

“This concept of limitless goals inspires them to stay hungry, curious, and motivated throughout their life,” Kimberley said.

We can apply this same mindset to our own goals and resolutions to keep us motivated throughout every challenge and milestone.

Determine Your “Why”

To start crafting limitless goals, we need to determine the real “why” behind our need to achieve a certain goal. That means moving away from outside reasons and instead looking inwards and focusing on our “dream” behind the goal (Newburg, 2002).

For example, Kimberley had a client approach her to help him work on his goal of being healthier — one of the most popular resolutions year after year.

Kimberley helped him draw out the dream that was driving this goal — he wanted to ride his bike with his grandson. This connected his general goal of being healthy to something tangible, something he could envision, something that he loved.

Once he understood his “why”, it was time to do the prep work. Often, Kimberley said, developing new habits is part of our preparation for achieving a goal. It can take 66 days to develop a new habit! On this journey, we often run into obstacles — frequently it’s the perception of a “lack of time”, Kimberley said.

These obstacles can cause us to question our methods and inhibit our ability to push through and make new, long-term habits that will help us accomplish our goals. Hence, the low completion rate of our New Year’s resolutions, Kimberley said.

To keep her client on track, Kimberley kept his “dream” at the forefront. She put pictures of his grandson on his fridge, on his screensavers, and on his stationary bike. During some of his busiest times, he would sleep in his workout clothes and he would read his morning work reports while on the stationary bike.

As a result, he did it! He lived his dream and sent Kimberly a beautiful picture of him riding his bike with his grandson.

Use Your Why to Push Through Any Obstacle

Another example of limitless goals is Hayley Wickenheiser’s journey to the Sochi Olympics, Kimberley said. Hayley is considered one of the best female hockey players in the world with seven world championships, six Olympic appearances, and five Olympic medals under her belt.

Prior to the Sochi Olympics, Hayley had been playing with a broken bone in her foot. Doctors told her that she had to have surgery on it or she ran the risk of not only never playing hockey again, but of never being able to stand for long periods of time. With dreams of becoming a doctor after hockey, Hayley underwent surgery with the goal of rehabilitating herself and making the Sochi Olympic team.

Post-surgery, she continued training but modified her exercises to accommodate her leg cast. She was used to running hill sprints five times a week. Being in a cast was an obstacle to that so instead she crawled her hill-sprints five times a week.

Hayley also wanted to continue practising her stickhandling to maintain her hand-eye coordination. Not being able to hit the ice, she converted her garage to look like an Olympic rink — setting up old Hockey Canada boards, having her son draw spectators in the stands, and making a scoreboard that displayed the numbers of her two favourite players, number 99 and 11. She did this to remain connected with her dream and to keep her motivated throughout the months she spent practising alone in her garage.

Of course, Hayley made her way to the Sochi Olympics, and was even named Canada’s flag bearer in recognition of her inspirational journey to the games. “She’s a pretty good example of achieving our goals no matter what the obstacles are in our way,” Kimberley added with a laugh.

So, when it comes to your resolutions, Kimberley said, remember to determine the real reason why you’ve set the goal — your “dream” — and surround yourself with reminders of that dream to keep you motivated for the long haul.

Dr. Kimberley Amirault-Ryan’s passion for motivating audiences to reach their fullest potential has received praise from international corporations and sports organizations alike, including Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, the NHL, and the NBA.

Interested in learning more about Kimberley and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at info@speakers.ca.