Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolve To Start At The Beginning

Most people don't do particularly well keeping their New Year resolutions. Why? Is it because the resolutions are too ambitious? Is it because we don't really intend to keep them? To both questions, I say no. I suggest that starting with resolutions is like starting a trip in the middle. It simply doesn't work.
Here's an alternative. Start with a change in direction. Make a broad statement about how you want to change yourself or your life. Understand why it is important. Sell yourself on the idea. Maybe you want to improve your fitness and sense of well-being. Great! Start there. The key is being clear about your central purpose.
Once you are committed to a direction, make a small number of specific resolutions (five or less) that move you toward the goal. Be specific. What measurable outcome do you expect for each resolution? How will you define success? Now you have the beginning of a roadmap.
Finally, plan. You have a broad goal, and the specific outcomes that represent its attainment. Now you must answer the question, how? Take some time and plan. What concrete actions are needed to carry out each resolution? What must you stop, start, or continue? What resources beyond your own resolve do you need? How will you measure progress? How will you make adjustments along the way? As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
There it is. No more empty resolutions for you. Set goals that have motivating power. That is where must start. Once you understand your motives and can envision your goal, make logical, achievable resolutions that define your journey. Plan the specific steps. Follow your plan.
In short, here's the formula that I suggest for your consideration:
1. (Why?) Define your central purpose or goal.
2. (What?) Elaborate on it on the form of resolutions.
3. (How? When?) Make a realistic plan and follow it.
Now go. You can do it. Create a turning point and be blessed in 2014. Happy New Year!