Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
Do you really feel confident that this year will be any different from the last? Here’s a list of the most common goals that show up as resolutions. See if any appeared on your list.
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking
- Spend more time with family
- Get out of debt
- Learn something new
- Lose weight
- Get in shape
- Help others
- Get organized
- Enjoy life more
And if what I observe is true, by March resolutions have been abandoned.
Before you think I’m against New Year’s Resolutions, I’m not.
I enjoy the coming of the new year because it’s a natural place for us to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t; what we liked and what we didn’t. In fact, I do hours of self reflective writing at year’s end and benefit from and enjoy this annual process very much. With the benefit of reflection, we can see things we would like to change and we resolve to do better in the New Year.
But our desire for change is often not enough to make us follow through on our resolutions.
One helpful question we should be asking is, “If I keep setting resolutions every year and I’m not reaching them, what can I do to change the process?”
Before I get to that, it’s interesting to note that the origins of the word resolution come from the early 15th century and derive from the Latin, resolutionem, which means, a breaking into parts. The root is also from resolutio, which is the process of reducing things into simpler forms.
So perhaps one part of changing how we make and accomplish resolutions is that it helps to keep things simple so we don’t set ourselves up for failure. Try only setting one resolution/goal in each important area of your life (health, fitness, relationships, spiritual, professional or any other category that’s meaningful to you).
Brainstorm ALL the possible goals you have in each category but in the end only choose ONE from each category. Choose the one that if accomplished will give you the biggest bang for the buck and influence all the other subgoals as well.
For instance, in my health category I chose EAT LESS SUGAR.
Remember that resolutions and goals are the product of things deeper and more meaningful to you. WHY is the motivating factor. When your WHY is deep enough, big enough, or meaningful enough, you don’t need as much resolve, so make sure you know the WHY behind each resolution you chose.
Next step is to list out the action steps you’ll need to take, and choose the first one. That’s right, only the first one. Take the next action step, and then the next, and before long it’s way past March and you’re on the road towards your resolution/goal.
So for my EAT LESS SUGAR I chose as my first action step: track the sugar I’m currently eating. That’s the only way I’m really going to be able to know how much is LESS!
I also think it’s better to keep resolutions/goals simple because when you can fit them onto an index card, for instance, and carry them around with you and see them every day, it helps keep you focused.
Another place where people get stuck in bringing their resolutions to fruition is in overestimating the time they have available and how long tasks actually take to complete. Here’s where committing to doing the next action step, and then the next, is helpful because we can really only do one task at a time.
Year after year I’ve noticed that we all have big ideas and more goals than can realistically be completed in one year. And this leads to dividing our time, energy, and resources into too many pieces. When we do this we run the risk of making less progress or not accomplishing any of our goals.
Consider these three keys to maximize goal performance.
There are three important success techniques you can use to make sure you always work at your best and avoid taking on too much at once.
1. Be realistic in setting target dates for accomplishing your goals.
Setting a TARGET date will relax your accomplishment anxiety and likely increase your enthusiasm.
Make sure your plans are realistic, manageable, and break them down simply using the question “What’s the next action step I need to get done?”
2. In order to do this you’ll need to keep a flexible mindset.
Your goals will evolve as the year progresses. Goals may be expanded or modified to fit your daily, weekly and monthly schedules.
No matter how the process is going, keep a flexible mindset! This by no means makes you a failure. It is part of the learning process that will help you achieve your present and future goals.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas and help.
Over the years, I have gotten much better at this step. Part of the resolution/goal-achieving process is learning to trust yourself to find solutions to obstacles along your path. But you should never feel like you’re alone in this.
You can always ask friends, family members, and coworkers to give you advice, suggestions, and support. Other people are a great resource for compassion, guidance, and applause.
Whenever I find my goals stalled, I put my ego aside and ask myself, “Who can I ask for assistance?”
You will be surprised by how willing other people will be to help you.
I’m guessing that many of us in the Joyinmovement community have a rather healthy appetite for success. We just have to be careful to avoid the tendency to pile too much on our plate.
By seeing a resolution as the act of breaking into parts and reducing things into simpler forms, we have better grounding for success. We’ve also associated our resolutions with those deeper meanings, so we can call forth our WHY anytime we need some extra motivation.
I hope this first JIM letter of the year has been helpful. I always like to jump start the New Year with basics. Maybe this information or way of looking at resolutions/goals is new to you or maybe not. In either case, I hope it’s a gentle reminder to, as Edith Lovejoy Pierce says, fill your 2011 blank pages with opportunities for abundant health so you can continue to find JOY in movement!