I have never had much faith in New Year resolutions, mainly because nothing much ever comes of them for most people. That said, a new year can be an extremely useful tool in setting yourself a new direction, provided that you have a definite system for getting there.
Actually, you do not need a new year to do this. You can do this at any time of the year, which should give you comfort should you in fact get thrown off from your new year resolution. The fact is that you do not need to wait until next year to start again. You can start again immediately and get right back on track from where you left off. Also, you can start a new venture or direction in life on ANY day of the year. There is no need to wait until January 1st.
Of course, all of this is pretty obvious, and yet it is amazing how many people miss the blatantly obvious and thereby lose out on all the progress they could be making on their life goals and dreams. You don’t have to be that way. Hence, if you are starting out this year with some new goals and resolutions, then that is great. However, remember that you can get right back up and start again should you ever come off the tracks at any time.
So what is it that makes the difference? What is it that causes some people to fail and others to succeed in life, in goals and in new year resolutions?…
The answer is… (1) a clearly defined system for achieving those goals and keeping on track, coupled with (2) solid reasons for WHY you want this, backed up with (3) strong will and emotional commitment to succeed.
Without these components, it is all too easy to get distracted by the daily urgencies of life and thereby forget what we committed to.
What do we mean by a clearly defined system? Frankly, it means different things to different people, according to their individual personalities. That said, you should definitely know your specific outcome (goal) in the first place, as well as some sort of time deadline for achieving it. If you don’t know what you want, how will you get it? If you don’t know when you want it by, then it becomes a mere dream or fantasy than a goal that drives you daily.
You also need to be able to work this overall goal back to monthly, then weekly and then even daily deadlines. Specifics are what really count in making progress, and it is lack of these specifics that cause so many people to fail. If I asked you to go to the shop and buy a loaf of bread, or to decide on a holiday destination and then make a plan to go there, you would be able to list the exact steps as to how to do these things. However, if I asked you for a list of specific steps for achieving your stated goal, most people would stare at me blankly.
Apart from having a specific goal, a specific deadline, and specific daily and weekly and monthly steps for getting there, you also need a system of accountability and regular review. This means having a way of checking in on yourself daily to see if you are on or off-track. That way, you are able to make adjustments and get back to where you should be. There is no point waiting six months or a year before checking in. The more often, the better.
With regards to (2) strong solid reasons why you want this, this is all about giving you the motivation for working steadily towards your goal, especially when times are tough, which they often may be. Hence, when you get discouraged, you can pull out your sheet of ten or twenty reasons why you want this, and fire yourself up again.
So that is one thing you can do. Create a list of 10–20 reasons why you absolutely must get this done, and then review that list regularly.
Finally, for (3) strong will and emotional commitment to succeed, this is where you need to spend time really creating a picture for what things will look like if you do succeed. Imagine and visualize it in great depth and get excited about it. Also, you should consider developing a visualization for what would happen if you fail. Some people are better motivated by fear of loss than possibility of gain. Actually, it is a good thing to have both methods working for you simultaneously. One pulls you forward, and one drives you from behind!
In conclusion then, USE this new year as an opportunity to kick-start yourself to achieve something new and spectacular. Use the three key factors discussed above. And remember, this works ANY time of the year, not just in January. Make it happen!
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