Do you remember what your "resolutions" were last year?
- If you answered No… How important could they have been?
- If you answered Yes… Then are they not the same intentions you've carried, year after year, maybe even a lifetime?
Aren't the life-consuming desires for change the ones you could never forget, anyway? And, aren't the truly important intentions the kind you make any day of the year?
The goals that matter most don't need to be tied to "New Year's Resolutions."
I'll share a secret with you: the concept of resolutions are a huge driving force in my line of work and in the lives of my clients… I, personally, do not do them.
For many of us, there's a bit of an energetic stink to the concept, isn't there? The language itself can doom and damn even the best efforts.
What if you threw away the concept of "New Year's Resolutions" this year? What if you just do the things you intend to do? What if you just get on with it?
Every day you have a choice to make, over and over again, to take another step toward your dream or to let it slide until tomorrow.
There will be some days when life simply gets in the way and demands that you work on other things; there are other days when you're on fire, and there's no stopping you.
- Control it when you can.
- Make the right choice when you have one.
- Be honest about how often you do have a choice.
- Cut yourself some slack when you genuinely don't.
Goal Setting Principals That Work
There are ways to approach your goals that will give them a better chance at success.
Find a buddy or a group. Accountability and social support are enormously powerful. Your friends and family may get tired of playing your coach, but someone who's working toward the same goal will be eager to share common experiences. With the Internet and social media, there's no excuse for not connecting other people who share your goals.
Talk about your experiences. If you're going to write down your "resolutions," then keep on writing. Talk about your goals daily, or at least weekly, with the other people who are on the same path. Start a journal. Keep a log book. Blog about it. Post about it on Facebook. When you find a few people who are eager to comment and discuss, start a special invitation only Group or Page. Or join one that already exists.
Low-ball your efforts. A series of small successes builds confidence and generates momentum. The opposite is also true: a goal that's too unwieldy is one bad day away from failure, deflation, and a domino effect down to defeat.
For example, if you intend to work out 5 days a week, change your goal to 3 days. If you intend to write 1,000 words a day, make your minimum 500 words.
Make every day a Start date. We often put too much pressure on that auspicious First Day, when really it's just one of many. Don't psyche yourself out. Each morning, it's the same choice in front of you -- to do it again.
Simplify your goals. Psyche yourself up for success. Break your big goals down into the simplest possible action steps, especially ones that can be repeated. Make them stupid-easy to pull off. And give yourself credit for every little inch of progress.
Admittedly, the components of the "New Year's Resolution" concept are all here, but these are the good parts -- the practical down-to-earth pieces that work.
Let's live our lives with the best intentions and fight with all our will to make our dreams come true.
But, let's forget the language that has become encoded with cliches and failure -- so, no more New Year's Resolutions.
Image credit h.koppdelaney via Creative Commons on Flickr