"The question isn’t ’can you do it’... the question is ’will you do it’..."
~ Earl Nightingale
Another new year is upon us...
I’m not sure about you, but it seems as though the years are flying by faster than ever. Maybe it’s due to the fast-paced nature of the society that we live in or because I’m trying harder than ever to try and get everything crammed into 365 days.
Upon reflection, 2014 was a very good year on many different fronts. Personally and professionally this last year felt fulfilling for me and for so many others that I know.
But now the year is behind us and we begin looking forward to the new year and the challenges that it will bring us.
Many people look at the new year as a time of renewal and rebirth. They will make resolutions and set goals for themselves.
We feel confident that this is THE year that we will overcome the resistance and procrastination and actually achieve the success that has eluded us.
Unfortunately, within days or weeks, many of us will fall back into our old habits... abandoning our initiatives until next year or maybe the year after that...
Making a list of resolutions is easy... actually doing the things on the list is hard...
Over the years, I’ve found a few techniques that have allowed me to complete the goals I’ve set for myself. No... these ideas are not a magic potion that somehow overcomes procrastination but they do help us to stay focused and determined to find the success that has eluded us.
Employing these three ideas will hopefully allow us to maintain our New Year’s resolutions all year long...
Focus on the "Why"
So often we make a list of resolutions and goals but we have no idea why we want to do these things in the first place.
I hear of people telling me that they want to read more... or watch less TV... or take a class... or run a marathon... or quit smoking... or lose weight...
My response to them is generally the same... why?
If you can’t articulate a good reason why you want to do something in the first place... then there is a really good chance that you won’t actually accomplish that goal.
Every good goal has a strong "why" behind it and until you can answer the "why" that goal is in jeopardy of failing... the "why" causes us to believe.
The "why" isn’t about trying to appease someone else or because it is something we think you ought to be doing... the "why" is a goal or resolution that we feel that we must do for ourselves... something that we simply cannot go on living without doing...
The "why" makes us committed... it causes us to believe... it gives us reason... it gives our goal a purpose...
When we want to quit... the "why" will keep us going... it will help us to overcome fear and resistance... it will allow us to picture success...
Each and every resolution or goal on our list must be written with corresponding "why am I doing this?" and "why is it important enough to be on my list in the first place?"...
Then and only then will the goal become a reality.
Space it out
January 1st rolls around and we compile a list of 20 or so resolutions... all the changes we want to make in our lives to supposedly make us a better person...
This is great... but completely unrealistic.
It is nearly impossible for most people to make wholesale changes in their lives all at once. Remember... these are habits that have accumulated over the course of a lifetime... thinking that you can abruptly change your lifestyle overnight is a recipe for failure.
The best way to find success is to space out your resolutions throughout the entire year.
Start with only 1 or 2 goals and then work on them steadfast for 60 days to accomplish those goals... it is far easier to work on a goal knowing that there is an end date of 60 days...
At the end of the 60 days... start 1-2 new and different resolutions... and then work hard to achieve those goals.
Committing to a goal for 60 days will also begin to make those goals new habits that have a strong possibility of staying with you for a longer period of time.
The other benefit of starting a new resolution each 60 days... is that if you failed the first time... you can restart again in 60 days rather than waiting an entire year to restart...
It’s hard to make (keep) a resolution for an indefinite period of time... but if you break it down into small increments you’ll have a much better chance for success.
Write it down
I know it sounds so cliché but it is absolutely essential that you actually write down your goals/resolutions and then keep track of your daily progress.
All truly successful people will tell you the same thing... you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Writing down your goals helps you to define what it is you’re trying to do and accomplish.
And just because your goals are written down... this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are chiseled in stone. When we first created the goals, most likely we didn’t have all of the information needed or perhaps the situation has changed, so it’s fine to amend your goals over time.
Last year I hoped to ride my bike 5,000 miles over the course of a year, but due to weather conditions in the early spring, I knew that meeting my goal was no longer feasible so I modified my goal to meet a more realistic expectation.
Once you’ve written all your goals out (more detail the better)... then you need to start measuring the results each and every day.
There are several smart phone applications that can help you to track your progress... you might use a daily calendar... or simply write your daily results in a notebook. I personally use an app called Lumen Trails but there are a variety of good tool that will help you to track your progress.
Whatever method you choose... it shouldn’t be elaborate or fancy... otherwise you won’t do it because it’s just too much of a hassle...
Each year I go on an annual diet to bring my weight back to an original starting point... during my diet (lasting about 10 weeks)... I track everything that I ingest in an app on my phone... including the vitamins and supplements I take each morning...
Doing this provides a great psychological crutch in helping me to limit my caloric intake... I know that if I choose to eat something... I’ll need to write it down... so I’ll usually end up not eating the snack just because I’m lazy and don’t want to write it down.
I am a big believer in goal setting... but I am also inherently lazy... so whatever system I chose to employ needs to be easy.
The above 3 techniques seem to work well in my life... but perhaps you have your own things that you do that allow you to achieve your own goals.
If so... I’d love for you to send me some of your own favorite methods so I can incorporate them into my own life and perhaps share them with others in a future blog.
Making the effort to improve ourselves is a good thing... actually accomplishing what we set out to do is a better thing...
Accomplishment is inside each of us... we just need to find the right reasons... and those reasons will give us the power to succeed...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we believe that it is our job to encourage the greatness that is dormant in each and every one of us.
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