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We all admire people who are strong, disciplined, and determined — on and off the obstacle course — and every time a new year rolls around, there are plenty of people setting lofty goals and resolutions in hopes of becoming just a little bit more like those disciplined people. The reality is, most people quit. Most people want to be disciplined — they want to work hard — but they fail to really embody the spirit of a person who works hard.
If you really want to change your life this year, you have to commit to becoming the person who doesn't quit. From leadership to commitment, these are the four undervalued characteristics that every Spartan should have, according to Dr. Lara Pence, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist and Spartan's Chief Mind Doc. If you possess these four characteristics, you should have no problem sticking to your goals this year.
4 Characteristics That Will Help You Stick to Your New Year's Goals
Successful people know that every great team needs an inspirational leader, but not the type of leader who leads from ego, or from a desire for followers. If you want to stick to your New Year's goals, you have to attack them independent of what others may think of you.
“They lead because they see the greatness in their teammates, and in the people for whom they are responsible,” Pence says. “They want to elevate this greatness and ensure that everyone rises to their own potential. Leadership is key because it is an exercise in remembering the collective, leaving no one behind, and encouraging those around you to live their best life.”
Who doesn’t want — or even need — a cheerleader in their corner, especially when you've been grinding at a goal for awhile with little progress and feel like quitting? Sometimes, you have to be that cheerleader for yourself.
“Enthusiasts are undoubtedly one of the great unsung heroes of successful teams, organizations, and social groups,” Pence says. “It’s important to be realistic, but that doesn’t mean that a great enthusiastic spin can’t help motivate and inspire. Spartans are gritty and tough and resilient … and, yes, enthusiastic. Especially during those darker times and painful moments, a good laugh or a hearty AROO can go a long way!”
Some people seem to think that kindness and toughness are mutually exclusive, but true Spartans know that this is not the case. While being kind may seem unrelated to staying committed to your goals, it's the little things throughout your day that add to either make or break the person you're becoming. So, who do you want to be?
"Go to any Spartan race at 3 p.m. on a Saturday and just watch,” she suggests. “It won’t take but a few minutes for you to notice something super special about those out on the course: They are kind. Real Spartans know that kindness is embedded in the fiber of being a Spartan. It takes a lot more effort to be unkind and flat-out mean than it does to be kind.
"Whether you’re offering support to someone going over the wall, helping an elderly individual load their groceries into their car, or just saying a responsive ‘thank you’ to the man at the cash register, Spartans realize that a little kindness can go a long way.”
You’ve made plans to train today, but now the work emails are coming in fast and furious, the kids have outgrown their winter clothes, you haven’t had a date night with your partner in months. Sound familiar? Our multitasking world is filled with distractions, which can make it difficult to focus on any one thing. But true Spartans — especially those who have laid out the goals they want to stick to ahead of time — realize the importance of commitment, and execute accordingly.
“When you remain committed, you stay true to your word — even if this word is only to yourself," Pence explains. "And this is critical because we have to be reliable. We have to do what we say we are going to do. Period. Commitment gives us boundaries and structure, both of which help with training, eating well, and remaining emotionally grounded.”