How many of you have made a New Year’s resolution only to break it within a few weeks or months? I see quite a few raised hands, including my own. Why do you think it’s so hard to keep these important promises we make to ourselves? My experience is that our resolutions lack the elements necessary for success.
- Create a written vision of your intention. Decide what you truly want in your life and then write it down. When you write down your intentions, a magical connection is created between you, your brain and the universe. Your brain wants you to succeed and will automatically begin to tap into the universal strategies for success. Begin by creating a vision or picture or movie in your mind of what your end result looks like. Then, convert that to a written word-picture. The more detailed, the better. For example, if you want to change your body-type, visualize exactly what you would look like and feel like.
- Develop a written action plan. Too often our goals lack precise strategies for accomplishing them. For example, “I am going to lose 20 pounds in 2008”, provides the brain with very little information or guidance. Better would be something like, “I choose to discard 25 pounds of body fat while gaining 5 pounds of muscle. I am going to pre-plan and prepare 3 healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks a day plus exercise a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times per week. Every Sunday, I’ll prepare and store that week’s meals and schedule my workouts directly into my calendar. I’ll immediately remove all ‘bad’ foods from my home today and commit to keeping bad foods out of my house.” Now you have an action plan that is precise and you know just what to do.
- Create a very large ‘Why?’ Write down all the reasons for accomplishing your goal. Again, the bigger the reasons, the more leverage you create for your intentions. Ideally, your reasons are bigger than you. If your reason for losing weight is to look good in your swimsuit this summer, it’s probably not enough. However, if your reason is to become the healthiest person you can so that you have the energy to spend quality time with family and friends and create the freedom to live your life to the fullest…now you have a reason that is bigger than you! Keep your statements in the positive tense rather than the negative tense. Instead of saying, “I will quit smoking”, say, “I choose to become a fresh-air breather!”
- Keep it bite-sized. While it’s important to stay focused on your ultimate vision, it’s even more important to create numerous ‘success points’. Success points are ‘mini’ destinations along the journey to your ultimate vision. Examples might include successful completion of your first weeks’ exercise and eating plan. Another might be dropping 1 dress size or pants size. Another might include lowering your resting heart rate from 74 to 70 beats per minute.
- Celebrate along the way. It’s vital to celebrate your successes as you move towards accomplishment of your vision. Use your success points as opportunities to celebrate. Create as many success points as possible and create specific rewards. For example, treat yourself to a new outfit once you drop a dress size.
This pre-planning with its ‘mini’ rewards can make this your best New Year ever! If you’d like a ‘Goals Worksheet’ form to help you with this process, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and type ‘Goals Worksheet’ in the subject line.