Arthur’s transformation is one of my favorite inspirational stories of last year. As we kick off 2013, I thought I would take a moment to give you five tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions.
1. Write down your goals. I’m not introducing a new concept here. Plenty of people have made this statement, but do you actually do it? Writing down your New Year’s resolution is the first step to making it a tangible To-Do item. It also makes you think about the specific goals you want to achieve. That’s a key element, write down detailed objectives. Instead of “get fit” a clearer objective would be “Lose 30 pounds” or “Run in a marathon.” Your resolutions don’t have to be outrageously grand either. “I will stop drinking soda.” is perfectly okay. In fact, including little goals helps build a success strategy for achieving larger ones. Once you’ve written down your New Year’s resolutions, don’t put the paper in a drawer or close the document on your computer. Take that well crafted mission statement and put it up somewhere so you will see it every day. Tape it to your mirror, hang it on a wall in your office, place it next to your computer monitor, carry it in your wallet, etc.
2. Create a plan. Your resolution is a destination, and your plan is the roadmap to get you there. “I will stop drinking soda.” sounds simple enough, but changing regular habits is hard. Maybe you REALLY LIKE soda, and to stop drinking altogether just wouldn’t happen. The first step in your plan might include reducing the number of sodas you have a day. Another step could be avoiding the places where you often order soda, e.g., McDonalds. Use tools like Evernote so you always have your plan with you. Creating a plan helps you address the challenges you’ll face, and how you’ll overcome them.
3. Keep a journal. Your plan provides the steps to move you forward, and a journal keeps a record of where you’ve been. A journal provides accountability by tracking progress & summarizing data. Don’t confuse a journal with a personal diary. For example, My Fitness Pal is a mobile app that helps you track what you eat, along with nutritional information. If your goal is to lose weight, being able to review your daily calories is useful. If you want to be better handling your money, using a service like Mint.com provides reports that breakdown your spending habits. You could write a blog like Justin Seeley to document your progress. Your plan cannot account for every challenge, and effectively using a journal allows you to modify & adapt your plan.
4. Establish a support system. There’s no reason for you to tackle your New Year’s resolution alone. Associating with people who have similar goals provides a network of expertise & experience. You should surround yourself with people who will lift you up when you’re down, and call you out when you’re lazy. Keeping the right company will help you create a successful environment. The Nike Fuelband provides a great way to building a support system through social media. Some people may stand in the way of your goals, either with their attitude or behavior. Avoid those people, or in the case of family & friends communicate where they are impeding your progress. Today’s technology allows us to connect with millions of people around the globe so your support system doesn’t have to be next door.
5. See failure as an opportunity. There’s a great quote from the final Rocky movie, “…it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” Even if you do everything I’ve listed above, you will have a moment when you fail. You’ll eat at McDonalds, skip a workout, spend that $100 on something ridiculous. The key is not to focus or dwell on that failure by getting wrapped up in the emotional letdown. Acknowledge the failure, learn from it, and move on.
What are some of your goals for 2013, and how are you going to achieve them?