Happy New Year! What is your resolution? Now, no diversions. We both know it isn’t the screen between us that I’m talking about. If you’re planning to join the many people that sigh at the thought, hold on. You’ve heard enough motivational stuff about the need for change and having the resolve to do so. Today, let’s look at how you can actually do that.
Start small. Size does not matter.
I figured that if you improve by 1% everyday, you will improve by 365% over a year.
Fred Schebesta, Co-founder, finder.com
Change doesn’t have to come in one giant leap, to paraphrase what an astronaut once said. A little does go a long way, provided you keep at it. Also, once a goal is broken down into small tasks, they’re easier to conquer.’Get fit’ doesn’t seem as insurmountable when it’s ‘Take a five-minute walk at 9 a.m. on Monday morning’.
So go ahead, spend just five minutes of your day meditating or take the stairs today. But you’ll also need to keep track of your growth and progress. Which brings us to our next point.
Write it down
I love making mental notes myself, but it still helps to write things down when it comes to setting goals or defining tasks. It also helps us gain clarity, so we can begin with the end in mind. On multiple occasions, I’ve found that writing a task down for the day helped me define its outcome more clearly; e.g. Upon closer inspection, ‘fix car’ became ‘fill up gas tank’ and ‘fill in air for the tires’.
Which comes first?
Making a goal/ task list can be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on how you choose to organize it. After you list it all down, it’s time to decide which one deserves your attention first. After all, mental and physical energy is a finite resource.
When you have an important goal for the day, begin the day by tackling it first and moving on to other tasks only once it is complete. This decreases the likelihood of being crowded out by other tasks that aren’t your top priority.
Get others involved
This step can be a little tricky, as it involves creating an environment where you are less likely to opt out of, simply put, getting it done.
Rope in a friend, spouse or kids to keep you accountable when you set a goal. Their support can contribute to your success. For example, if you’re aiming to lose weight and quitting excessive consumption of sugar, it helps when your family members come on board by switching to fresh fruits instead of cake for dessert, and taking a walk afterwards instead of an hour of TV on the couch.
And as an extension of involving the people close to you, your goals are more likely to be achieved when they benefit others too.
Marketing manager Caleb Backe cited this motivation in helping him succeed in meeting his targets. He found that when his goal was driven by a positive effect on the people around him, that contributed to it being achieved.
Bonus tip: Be kind (to yourself)
Above all, recognize that changing for the long-term doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what the Before/ After photos say. There will be days where you fall short, but know that it is part of the process of you getting better. It isn’t the end. Persevere. Because you can.
All the best for Day 1 of 2018!