Last night during strength training class, our leader, Lori, wanted us to know that she would whip us into shape. “No breaks,” she said. “I can see your stomach sagging, suck it up.” When she was sure we were struggling to continue she would announce, “Just 25 more.” The more experienced participants knew that just 25 more meant we would be finished after 4 or 5 more.

When Lori announced, “no breaks,” Gina, the co-leader with Lori, muttered sarcastically that the leaders’ job was to scare us away from the class. As she circulated among the attendees and led the second half of class, Gina told us how well we were doing. “That is great form.” “Looking good; keep it up.”

Gina’s comment about scaring the class, in particular, pointed out that Lori and Gina have different motivational styles. Which style would help you achieve your goals? 

Perhaps you have set resolutions or goals for this year. One important step to help you achieve those goals is to tell people about them and seek support in your efforts. For some of us, not just any support will do. Some of us respond better to Lori’s toughness and some of us to Gina’s nurturing support.

When it comes to running, I am pretty self-motivated. Most of the time, I will get up and run on my own. If I get busy and skip running for a period, I can get myself back out.

When it comes to strength training, I respond better to structure and classes to create the routine. Having an instructor that is interesting helps to keep me interested and involved.

Although I am self-motivated with running, I need more support for strength training. When you consider your resolutions and goals for this year, think about the level of support that you will need to keep on track with each of your goals. Perhaps some of your goals can be achieved with your individual effort, perhaps others will only be achieved with support. If so, what kind of support will be needed?

As you think about individuals or groups that can help you achieve your goals, take a look at your overall environment as well. Pay attention to the conversations you are having with friends and colleagues. Pay attention to how the news media either helps you achieve your goals or gets in your way.

If you need support with employment or financial goals, you may not want to follow the mainstream media very closely. It is probably good that bad news is more newsworthy than good news—that suggests that good news is the norm—but even when the news is good it is reported as unlikely to last. 

While I do not suggest that you only listen to positive news and news that supports your views, I do recommend that you not spend too much time dwelling on negative news. Seek out reports that the country will return to its entrepreneurial greatness despite the efforts of both political parties in Washington.

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