3 Steps to Achieving Your New Year’s Resolution
Like me, you might be thinking “This year flew by faster than Season 7 of Game of Thrones”. It’s that time of year when we hit “Ctl+Alt+Delete” and reflect on the good, the lessons learned and the limitless opportunities that lie ahead in 2019. It’s New Year’s Resolution (NYR) season, which for 80% of Americans last an average of four weeks. In fact, only 8% of the population actually succeed.
There are three main reasons why so many fail; overly ambitious goals, they don’t know the “why” and they’re not measurable. I’d like to offer you a different way to look at NYRs that have a life-changing impact over the long term.
I remember in 2003, my NYR was to run a marathon. I spent hours researching and crafting a 9-month workout plan in an excel spreadsheet. At the time, the marathon was important to me because I needed to prove that I could achieve something big during a time when I felt my life was falling apart. The first day on the treadmill left me two steps short of heart attack and limping after 10 minutes. After a couple of weeks, I ditched the 9-month plan and committed to 10 minutes of cardio 5 days a week. I didn’t run a marathon that year. In fact, I didn’t run my first marathon until a decade later in San Francisco. But what I did do is change my daily habit to include exercise, which gave me confidence and uninterrupted quiet time. This change in lifestyle eventually led to a decade of triathlons, adventure, and an evolving meditation practice. The point of the story is, NYRs are not meant to be an instantaneous extreme makeover.
The secret to a successful NYR is simplicity. An NYR shouldn’t be stressful or overwhelming. Instead, it should be inspiring, pleasant and easy to do daily. Here are three easy steps to crafting your NYR.
The most common NYRs have to do with life enjoyment, relationships, health or money (Money Inc. 2016). Maybe your goal is to be the #1 account executive with the highest revenue contribution. Maybe you want to finally lose the muffin top this year. Maybe you want to spend more time with the kids. Take a moment to ask yourself “why is this so important to me?” Is it the commission check or the peace-of-mind knowing you’re providing for your family? Are you striving to see the pounds shed off the scale or the feeling of confidence when looking in the mirror? Your motivation is deeper than you realize. Knowing the “why” inspires you to commit and take action. QUESTION 1: In one word, describe the feeling you will experience when accomplishing your goal. Examples: freedom, peace-of-mind, confidence.
Break your uber vision down into realistic and specific goals. We are complex humans that need simplicity and repetition to change. Be specific with your goal. If you can’t measure it, it’s not gonna happen. QUESTION 2: What specifically are you trying to accomplish? Examples: Hit 125% of quota. Lose 5 lbs in 3 months. Spend 7 quality hours with the kids a week.
Have you noticed how hard it is to break an old habit? It’s not entirely your fault. Bad habits are literally etched into our neural pathways. It’s even more difficult to form new habits. That’s why it’s critical to develop a daily action to support your success. QUESTION 3: What measurable action will you take every day to support your goal? Finish this statement, I will commit to….. Examples: …reading an industry article every day, … substituting Doritos with fruit, … reading 15 minutes with the kids.
Leaders that succeed at NYRs understand that change is an endurance game and not a quick sprint. They also enjoy the journey. So if you’re not enjoying your daily action, then maybe it’s not the right action for you.
Now, create your 2019 NYR statement by combining your three answers into a single statement below. When the moment comes to make a decision or take action, use your statement to hold yourself accountable.
“I commit to (insert answer 3) in order to (insert answer 2) and in doing so sustain (insert answer 3). Example: I commit to reading an industry article every day in order to hit 125% of quota and in doing so sustain peace-of-mind.”
My 2019 NYR statement: I commit to blocking 20 minutes on my calendar every day in order to write an inspiring blog every week and in doing so sustain self-expression.
I would love to hear about your NYR in 2019. Leave a comment to share.