Every year around the beginning of November the majority of people, including myself, start getting excited for the holidays. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to get together with family for a great feast on Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, I am not as appreciative of the after effects on my body.
Most Americans set new year’s resolutions, yet only 3% of people write their resolutions down. There has not been a shortage of pens and paper this year, so what is stopping people from just writing the goals they have put upon themselves down? Is it fear of failure, lack of commitment, or just a bad habit that has been created over the last several years?
I usually do not write my New Year’s resolutions down, but this year I want to reach my goals. I am going to take the knowledge I have gained over the last year from listening to hundreds of hours of podcasts and reading six influential books to create a plan to reach every goal I have for 2017.
So here is my 10 step plan to sticking with and completing my New Year’s resolutions.
Step 1. List each resolution/goal and be specific.
Join the 3%, and write down what your resolutions are, and when you do, be as specific as you can. Imagine you are a pilot of an airplane. When you go to land the aircraft, are you going to aim for a particular point (like a runway) or are you just going to try to land the plane somewhere in the city? Deciding to save money or be healthier is great, but these two goals are very vague. Decide how much you will save every week, and decide how much you will weigh by what date.
Step 2. List why you set each resolution/goal.
Why do you want to lose weight or save money? When you know why you want to complete each goal, you can make decisions that bring you closer to that goal. Don’t just decide that you want to save money because it is the right thing to do, do it for a particular reason, or you will never be able to do it.
You can accomplish anything when, WHY (you want something) is greater than, why (you don’t feel like doing it).
Step 3. List why you want each why.
Imagine this being the third layer of your resolution/goal. The first layer is the goal; the second layer is the reason why you set each goal, and this layer is to understand why you want that why. For example, Layer 1. I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st, Layer 2. So that I move around better, Layer 3. So that I can play with my kids. This is just an example, but you should go this deep with every goal you have set. Understanding why you want each goal will help you figure out why you have to give up other things to achieve it.
Step 4. List the third why.
In this step, you go another a little bit deeper. Continuing the example above, you must ask yourself, why do I want to play with my kids? This step should not be easy. Take as much time as you can and think about your response. More time spent planning gives you a significant advantage when trying to stick with your resolutions.
Step 5. List the fourth why.
This is the last why, and the answers to this step will be at the core of your belief systems and values. Once again, put as much time into these answers as you can. This step should not be easy, and you will understand more about yourself by going this deep.
Step 6. Make a general why.
If you were as accurate as you could be for the last five steps, then this step should be a summarization of Step 5. Depending on what your goals are, Step 5’s answers should have a common theme. By recognizing the theme, you should be able to create a general why for everything you do in life. To make better sense of this step, I took my answers from Step 5 and created my general why,
My contribution to this earth is spreading happiness through the knowledge that I gain, and doing this will make me feel worthy and significant.
Try making a general why statement, but do not stress over it. This step will help you understand yourself better but is not crucial to your goals.
Step 7. Make 25% increment dates.
Break your goals down into 25%, 50%, and 75% dates.
Start with the day of the goal, and divide the days between now and your goal by four to get your 25% increment date. Then use this number to find the quarter increments.
Step 8. Add goals to each date.
Assign goals that you can aim for to each quarter date. The reason why there is a 3-point goal line in basketball is that targets further away are harder to hit, and the same concept applies to goals. The mini goals do not have to be linear throughout the year. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds this year you can set out to lose 9lbs the first quarter, 7lbs the second quarter, 5lbs the third quarter, and 4lbs the last quarter.
Step 9. Add each goal to your calendar.
Writing these steps down is a great start, but adding them to your calendar will help remind you of when each mini goal is coming up and will be the second best thing you can do to make sure you reach your 2017 goals.
Step 10. Tell Someone!!!
The best thing you can do to make sure you fulfill your 2017 New Year’s resolutions is to tell someone that will keep you accountable.
Find 2 or 3 friends that have close to the same goals as you and create an accountability group. Your accountability group can be formal or informal; either way, tell people that care about what your plans are. If you surround yourself with the right people, they will push you to be the best person you can be, and while you grow, they will grow too.
Accountability groups are also an excellent way to make friends with total strangers. A quick search on Facebook will help you find accountability groups where you can meet random people with similar goals and values as yourself. I hope that you can find at least one person to tell your goals too. Although, if you do not feel comfortable discussing your resolution with friends or family you can always tell me. I am always open to emails from people who want to better their lives.
No matter who it is or how you do it, telling people what your plans are will give you the best chance of sticking with and completing your New Year’s resolutions.
If you’ve read this far, then you are hungry.
I like hungry people because they are willing to do whatever it takes to make a better life for themselves and those around them.
If you really want to succeed at completing your New Year’s resolution, then here is a fill-in-the-blank worksheet that makes achieving your goals that much easier.