Its that time of year again that we all focus on the last 365 days, what we accomplished, what we lost, what we gained, champagne, New York, the Ball, the count down, Auld Lang Syne, the kiss… THEN
New Years Resolutions
I already know your list – lose weight, get in shape, save money, get a better job, get better at your job, spend less time at work, spend more time with family, spend more time friends, make new friends, go back to school, pay off debt, start something, stop something, slow down, speed up… arrrggghhhhh!
I wrote the same one in 2007 and again in 2008. Its the Biggest Mistake you will make in 2009. Trust me – you are going to mess this year up before it even begins simply by making the same list you had last year and the year before that and the year before that. STOP THE INSANITY! Don’t do it! Make this year DIFFERENT! I made 2008 different – I actually went back to school, reduced my debt, started saving, got a new job, got a promotion, and started losing weight… I’m not finished but I’m ahead of where I started in 2008 and I will be further along at the end of 2009… Here’s how I made progress:
They don’t work because they aren’t resolutions – they are wishes. I wish I could play the piano, but I’m not putting that on my 2009 list of todos because I know I’m not going to DO anything to make it happen. Why bother making a list of things you wish you were going to do in 2009 but know you aren’t?
Let me explain
why this is the biggest mistake you will make: When you make your New Years Resolutions – you put everything you wish you had accomplished last year on the list – you put everything you want to accomplish in 2009 – AND you put things you feel you should accomplish even if you aren’t sure you want to do them. You bury any chance of accomplishing your real goals under a mountain of should haves, would haves, and could haves.
Avoid the same mistakes
It’s impossible to not think about what you want to accomplish over the next year, but how do you go from a New Year’s Resolution list that may as well have “accomplish world peace” and “solve world hunger” since you are as likely to accomplish those as anything else on that list – to a meaningful list of goals that you CAN accomplish?
Start by Dropping the Word Resolution…
Most of us don’t actually mean “This is my RESOLVE” when we make our list anyway – and you’ve missed so many ‘resolutions’ year after year, you have conditioned yourself to fail them! So DON’T DO THEM. Call it anything else – a goal list, a ToDo list, even a Wish List will be more potent then another worthless resolution list. It’s amazing how powerful words can be – What’s in a Name… can be all the difference!
Limit Your List
To a few items – 3 or 4 at most. I know you want to change a lot more about your life than 3 or 4 things, but you won’t be able to focus on them all and since this isn’t a ‘New Years Resolution List” – you aren’t limited to only one per YEAR – make a new list everytime you finish one (focus on the word finish here!)
Break Down Large Goals into Milestones
So you can accomplish them one milestone at a time. Wanna lose 150lbs? I know a guy that does (wink, wink, me) and I could never do that all at once. My ongoing goals are 3lbs a week, 10lbs a month. I also have milestones – 280lbs, 275lbs, 250lbs, 225lbs, 210lbs, breaking 200… I don’t have to focus on breaking 200 while I’m 289lbs. Apply this to any large goal you have – like paying off your credit cards or saving money for your kids college. I broke my list into quarterly goals, then a monthly focus, and finally weekly tasks.
Prioritize Your List – but not like you think
I know you want to tackle the MOST IMPORTANT goals first – but don’t. Put your list in order of how long a task takes and how hard it is to accomplish. Its amazing how accomplishing a few things on your list will help motivate you to keep going! Tackling smaller, easier to accomplish goals will help you gain momentum and momentum will take you through the larger goals.
Make your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Aggressive, but REALISTIC, and Timed. Almost no goal is TOO BIG if you break it down into milestones, but some things just aren’t going to happen as fast as you want or even at all. You can lose weight – but maybe not in a single month. You can read more – but starting with the complete unabridged works of Shakespare isn’t going to happen.
Lastly, Find Your Motivation
Mine is a long term goal to become a military chaplain. In order to be a chaplain in the military, you have to have a Masters Degree in Divinity, be an ordained minister, and meet all of the height / weight requirements. So, I started school to finish my four year degree so I could go on to get my masters. I may never become a chaplain – but I don’t want it to be because I don’t qualify. This is my motivation, its whats working for me. When I was learning to drive my mom told me I had to learn to drive a standard (stick shift). When I asked why, she replied “so you can choose to drive an automatic if you want too.” That stuck with me – I don’t like not having choices. I don’t like being told I can’t do something. FIND YOUR MOTIVATION! Right now, I can’t be a chaplain – I weight too much, I don’t have the education required, and I’m not ordained. That drives me.
I currently weight 298lbs – my first goal is to get down below 280lbs. That’s a 9lbs loss which will take me three weeks at 3lbs a week. So by the Jan 17th, I should weigh in at 280lbs. What’s your goal? How have you broken it down? When will you ‘get it done’ by? Leave me a comment and let me know. Don’t forget to to Digg me by clicking the Digg icon below!