New Years resolution time again? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We set them with the best of intentions and by the end of January, most will have fallen by the wayside. How can you make this year different? Here are 5 suggestions that I hope will allow this year’s goals (in my opinion a better word than resolution) get met with success and not ditched.
1. Take time to re-think your current priorities. If a healthier lifestyle is at the top of the list, then great. Add more exercise and more nutritious meals as a goal for the year. But if you’re happy with the way you are, then don’t feel forced to make this a goal. If catching up on organizing all your family photographs needs to happen in order to plan an upcoming event, say a montage for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, then go for it. But if it can truly live the way it is and not disrupt your day to day life, then shelf it for a better, more important time!
2. Break down into the smallest of steps. “Organize the house” is a ridiculously overwhelming goal to set for yourself. That’s a big project that needs to then be chunked down into the smallest of steps. Set yourself up for success by crossing off small tasks that lead to the bigger goal. Success breeds success, so that feeling of accomplishment by reorganizing the silverware drawer one day leads you to want to carry on by conquering the Tupperware cabinet the next day.
Years ago I read a great book titled “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way” By Robert Maurer, Ph.D. Based on the Japanese methodology of achieving success through the smallest of steps is shown to work in various scenarios from personal goals to huge corporate makeovers. The book itself is even small and provides a mindset of, “What is the smallest step I can take to get me started?” I highly recommend to those in need of guidance and/or a mindshift in this area.
3. Put your plan in writing! It’s not good enough for it to swim in your brain. Research shows that by documenting your goal, breaking it into action steps with deadlines (even if you make artificial ones), you are much more likely to achieve your goal.
4. Find an accountability partner and share your written plan with him/her. Give this one some real thought. Your spouse or best friend may or may not be the best person for the job. Who do you really admire? Who do you define as successful? Who has been able to achieve a similar goal as yours? I know from personal experience that having to turn in a food diary to my good friend and health coach forces the goal to stay top-of-mind and, believe me, I think twice about eating that cookie when I know have to report it on my log (ok, I’m brutally honest with myself when it comes to these things so yes I wouldn’t hide it from her)! That being said and, perhaps with a guilty conscious, it works!
5. Reward yourself. Another aspect that requires some thought. Not everyone is motivated by the same thing and believe it or not, it’s not always monetary rewards that drive people. In Richard Lavoie’s book, “The Motivation Breakthrough”, he outlines that people can be motivated by praise, power, projects, prestige or prizes. My daughter is very motivated and feels successful when I provide verbal praise or acknowledgement that I have noticed her efforts. Yes, some extra spending money or a manicure works too but at the end of the day, how would you like to reward yourself? What would be meaningful to you? And don’t wait until the end to do so! What are some rewards for meeting success along the way? Each and every effort deserves recognition and a pat on the back in a way that is meaningful and motivating for you!
So there you have it. You can make your goals a reality! I wish you much luck in your journey to success!