New Years resolutions are often made, but rarely kept. I can help you with that. Let’s get right to it.
1. WRITE IT DOWN
You need to see your goals in some form, and the easiest way to do that is to write them down. If you want to go further and make a vision board (like making a collage of images of things you want) then do it. But the first step is to verbalize what your resolution is, and write it down (or type it and print it out).
2. MAKE LISTS
Each resolution needs a plan, and your list is your tool to making it happen. Want to know the best thing about making a “to do” list? Crossing off the things you’ve done. So if your goal is to lose weight, then every day write a list of what you need to do to attain it. And then after you do, cross those bad boys off. It feels great.
3. MAKE A VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF YOUR PROGRESS
Let’s use the losing weight example again, since it’s a common one. One thing you could do is put a sticker in your planner on every day that you exercise. Then you get to look back after a week, a month, a year and see lots of stickers and realize “hey, every time I slapped a Lisa Frank pony down was a day I worked out.” Also, take before and after pictures. There is nothing more powerful than seeing visual proof of your change.
4. REALIZE THAT THE ONLY PERSON STANDING IN YOUR WAY IS YOU
There is no one who is going to come into your life and say, “Give me that” and take things away from you. The only person who has control of your life is you. Every time you are lazy you’re saying, “I’d rather be lazy than get everything I ever wanted.” Realizing this was painful for me, but necessary.
5. SET DEADLINES
Dr. Phil once said (stop groaning, keep reading), “The only difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline.” He may have taken that from someone else, but I know he said it because I used to watch his show, and I’m okay with that. He’s right. Dreams are great to have but to make them realities, you have to be practical. And part of being practical is realizing how much time you have and how much you time need to make things happen. Make realistic timelines for yourself. Stick to them. And remember that, to quote that magnificent bastard again, “The year is going to go by whether you do something or not.” So you may as well do something.
6. ASK FOR HELP
It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes we feel so alone that we want to give up, cry, drink, and repeat. Maybe that help is in the form of your mom. Maybe it’s your therapist. Whoever that help comes from is someone you should feel comfortable asking. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. By asking, you guarantee a 50% chance of a yes. Don’t let your ego take over. It’s really okay to ask for help. And if you offer help, follow up and actually give it. Don’t be that person who flakes out on people. That person sucks.
7. DON’T GIVE YOURSELF AN EASY “OUT”
For example, if you work from home, and you have a tendency to watch TV when you want to slack off, don’t set your computer up in front of the TV. If you know that Facebook gets in the way of your work, block Facebook. You know your best and worst habits, and what triggers your worst and what makes you your best. It’s time to stop lying to yourself. If you know that you get less productive in the late afternoon, don’t schedule a break around 3 o’clock. Because chances are, you’re going to have an even harder time getting back on schedule. Do the worst first. If you’re less productive as the day goes on, don’t leave the hard stuff for later in the day. Picture someone else watching what you’re doing. If at any point you’d think they’d say, “Dude, what the hell are you doing right now?” then you need to refocus and change what you’re doing.
8. DON’T STOP
The easiest way to break your resolution is to stop what you’re doing to get there. I mean, duh, right? But so often we’re so used to getting things instantly – instant replies, instant messages, instant gratification – that anything that takes “too long” is easy to give up on. When you want to give up, actually ask yourself, “What am I giving up on and will future self be pissed off at me?” If your future self will want to kick your past self’s ass, then keep going.
9. HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE
This one can be the hardest. But if you’re dismissive of your own goals and pessimistic about your decisions, you’re not helping yourself in any way. Though you can be your own worst enemy, you can also be your biggest fan. There is always a bright side to everything. Sometimes it feels like I have to find that bright side on my hands and knees with a flashlight, but I find it, and that keeps me going.
Remember, there is enough success in this world for everyone, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have what you want as long as you work hard and don’t give up.
It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be great.
Happy New Year.