The New Year’s Resolution. What a waste of time! I can honestly say, I have made a resolution EVERY SINGLE YEAR of my adult life. Ask me how many times I’ve achieved it. No, wait – don’t ask me…
This year is going to be different. Yeah, yeah, I see you rolling your eyes!
Seriously, though – I haven’t even made a resolution this year! A resolution is a promise to yourself, a hope… Making one is not much better than making a wish. This year, I’m making a PLAN.
Here are six steps that we can all take to make sure that we see real progress in our lives by the time the Earth begins its next tour around the Sun.
1. DON’T JUST ASK ‘WHAT’; ASK ‘WHY’
One of the reasons that we become complacent and fail to achieve our goals in the long-term is because we easily forget WHY we had decided to have such lofty ambitions in the first place. Your goal should be written somewhere visible; where you’ll stumble upon it all the time. Write it in your planner. Write it on a notice board. Use it as your desktop background. Write it on your mirror in red lipstick… whatever it takes!
Most importantly, rather than writing;
‘Save $1,000 each month’,
‘I will be able to renovate my kitchen in December because I will save $1,000 each month so I’ll have $12,000 by the end of this year’…
Also, remember to be honest with yourself. If you actually want that money for a Carnival costume or for breast implants, write that. This is not about what other people think!
2. PRE-PLAN AND USE REMINDERS
Another simple reason for my many failed New Years’ Resolutions is that I simply forget them. I’m not ashamed to say it; by March I usually have no idea what I was so determined to do in January. (Okay, maybe I’m a teeny bit ashamed to say it!)
We live in the digital age though, so there are a million solutions to this problem. Set reminders in your digital calendar; on the last day of every month, have your phone or computer gently nudge you back in the right direction.
If your goal is to get fit, get a three-month gym membership TODAY, then set an alert on your phone so you are reminded to renew that commitment every three months.
3. FIGURE OUT THE BABY STEPS
Projects and tasks aren’t the same thing at all. The funny thing is, we’re more likely to complete tasks than we are to accomplish goals or finish projects.
Why? Well, first of all, a task is a small subset of a project that’s easier to tackle than the whole project itself. Focusing on the project as a whole can be daunting… but if we do things one step at a time, we find ourselves managing the unmanageable.
When we go to work, we complete task after task… this leads us to finalizing a project. When we create the project for ourselves though, we tend not to approach it as methodically.
This year, don’t just set a goal, map out all the steps it will take you to get there and schedule time to accomplish each step.
4. BE REALISTIC
As Arthur Ashe famously said;
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
If you have no romantic interests on your radar, don’t plan to be married by the end of the year. Make a plan to socialise more with like-minded people.
If you have $10 in the bank, don’t plan to be a millionaire by the end of the year. Plan to be financially stable and have some savings.
5. SET DEADLINES
A year is a long time. If your goal is to learn a new language, you won’t feel any urgency to get it started in January; you have twelve whole months to start a course! You’ll tell yourself it should probably wait until you get settled back into work anyway…
Before you know it, you’ll be telling yourself that it doesn’t make sense to start a course during the summer, when there’s so much else to do.
Then it will be the end of the year and you’ll feel there’s no way you can realistically start learning a new language any more.
Don’t just set a goal; set a goal for a reason and set a goal with a deadline.
6. TRACK PROGRESS
The last tip that I have for realizing a New Year’s Resolution is to consistently measure your progress. With almost any goal, you should be able to identify milestones you’ll pass along the way.
Can you ask for directions in French? Have you lost a few inches around your waist? Has your savings account noticeably expanded lately? Check your milestones regularly. If you planned to get fit in 2017, challenge yourself every week… How quickly can you walk a mile? Record your time in January and then again at the end of every month.
Realising that you actually are making progress is one of the best sources of motivation when working towards a goal.
So, this is what I’m starting with in 2017. What tools and strategies are you implementing to ensure a successful year? Please let me know in the comments… and don’t hesitate to remind me periodically that I started off with this fabulous plan!
Wishing you success in all your endeavours…