2011 is almost here and it’s time for yet another round of New Year’s resolutions. The question is… will you be one of the few people who actually sticks to their plan and makes a positive, permanent change or will your efforts fall into the fail pile along with millions of others? If you’re serious about making things happen in ’11 then you’re going to need a serious plan…
While there any many reasons why people fail to achieve their goals, the #1 issue that I see is lack of proper planning. Adequate preparation is often the most overlooked component of a New Year’s goal setting plan since most people rely solely on the meager motivational boosts they get from willpower. As far as sustained motivation goes, willpower is much like a Snickers bar: good for a quick burst of energy but leaves you crashing hard shortly after. Since there’s no satisfaction in utter failure, we need to have a strategy that keeps us moving forward long after those empty carbs have left us hanging.
Now, if you tend to suffer from chronic procrastination, then do yourself a huge favor and get started right now. First off, pick a concrete goal that you would like to achieve in the next 3-6 month. Make sure it’s measurable and has a deadline. Next, go through the following ten tips and start putting them to work for you immediately. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. For added motivation, send over your resolutions and update me periodically with your progress reports.
Tip 1: Write out your mission statement
Take out a piece of paper and write something like: “I, Joe Blow, commit to the goal of losing 30lbs by May 1st 2011.” Then sign it and put it where you will see it every day (possibly taped on the wall above your desk). Read it to yourself out loud twice a day (morning and night).
Tip 2: Write out your plan
Expand on your mission statement and write a detailed description of your plan. Then chunk it down to the level of the small daily tasks you’ll complete each day. An easy way to do this is to imagine that you’ve already succeeded and ask yourself which steps you took to get to this point. Work backwards and write down everything that you come up with. Post this list up next to next to your mission statement.
Tip 3: Visualize your successful outcome
One of the most powerful but overlooked goal-getting strategies is the technique of visualization. Yes, it may seem like airy-fairy nonsense, but I promise you there’s something to it. How and why it works, I have no idea and I really don’t care. Just trust me on this one and add it to your goal-getting arsenal.
So… close your eyes and imagine that you’re already succeeded. Visualize the scene in as much detail as you can, seeing yourself in the picture (from a third-person perspective). After about 30 seconds, mentally step inside the picture and see what you would see if this was real (from a first-person perspective). At this point, make sure you feel whatever feelings would be there if this really happened (happiness, pride, excitement, etc). Make those feeling as strong as you can.
Then, after another 30 seconds, switch back to the third-person perspective and repeat over and over for at least 5 minutes. Do this sequence at least twice a day (morning and night).
Tip 4: Find an accountability partner
Our friends and family members can be great motivators is we use them strategically. If you have trouble getting your butt to the gym, for instance, start carpooling with a workout buddy. When someone is honking outside your door at 5am, it will be a lot tougher for you to bail out and hit the snooze button.
If you can’t enlist a buddy’s help in this way, then tell five people your goal and ask then to check up on your every so often. Another good trick is handing a friend $500 and telling them they can give you back $100 each time you reach one of your mini-targets. Loss of money is a great motivator.
Tip 5: Take at least one step towards your goal each day
Momentum is your friend and ally. Any momentum you create can make your life a heck of a lot easier, but lose that momentum and you’ll have wasted lots of time and energy. This is the point where frustration starts to set in.
One of the best ways to keep it going is to do something to help your reach your goal every single day. Even on days that you want to take off, spend at least 15 minutes doing something. Those few minutes spent will add up in the end.
Tip 6: Don’t let yourself cheat… it’s a slippery slope
It all starts with that first day off from the gym which somehow spirals into a four month sabbatical. Resist the temptation to slack off occasionally because these little deviations from your plan can slow your momentum to a grinding halt.
Tip 7: Practice resilience
Setbacks and screw-ups are inevitable – it’s how you deal with them that determines whether you’ll be a champ or a chump. Have you ever said to yourself, “Well, I screwed up and it’s already Thursday. I guess I’ll just start back up again on Monday”? This is one of the most common momentum-slowing traps people fall into. Instead, say, “Damn, I screwed up today. I’m going to make up for it tomorrow.”
Make a firm commitment to yourself to push through any and all challenges and get right back up on the horse each time you fall off.
Tip 8: Reward yourself
Just because you’re not a Chihuahua doesn’t mean you can’t toss yourself a biscuit when you make good. Steady rewards help reinforce your new positive behaviors, so treat yourself to some goodies each time you make some progress.
Tip 9: Work with a coach
The fastest way to succeed, hands down, is having a competent coach in your corner. If you’re serious about success, then a coach’s support and guidance can be worth at least ten times the monetary investment.
Tip 10: Never give up
If you want it badly enough, nothing can stop you. Keep your eye on the target, move full speed ahead and don’t ever stop.
Wishing you love, health and success in 2011,