Would you like 2016 to be your best year ever?
I don’t think anyone would say “No.”
In fact, I doubt anyone has ever said, “I would love for next year to be terrible.”
But, in a way, we can set ourselves up for that failure year after year.
We do that by simply making our New Year’s Resolutions.
That’s right, that time honored tradition of starting each year with a shiny, new set of resolutions for those things we would love. I know I’ve done it....
1. Lose Weight,
2. Eat Healthy,
3. Exercise Regularly,
4. Save More Money,
5. Increase my Income.
You know the drill: we sit down and think of all the areas of our lives we aren’t happy with and then come up with a list of things that would make life amazing.
We start off strong, then gradually item by item the resolutions just sort of fade away until we are back to living our lives the same way we were last year.
In fact, only 8% of people who make resolutions are successful in keeping them.
I believe there are a few things we could do to increase our odds of success. Here are 5 simple steps you can take to make 2016 your best year ever.
Make a Commitment
It’s one thing to make a nice list of things we would love, but it is another to make a commitment to achieving them. Most of those New Year’s Resolutions are really just considerations. We think about doing them, and we may even take some of the necessary steps, but for one reason or another, we don’t follow through.
By making a commitment to ourselves, we are drawing a line in the sand. We are saying, this is important, and I am going to do it.
If you want to put it in writing, draw up a little contract and sign and date it. Then put that contract on your mirror or fridge where you will see it every day so you can remind yourself that this commitment is important to you.
Lack of clarity is a big factor in failure. We think we want something, but we don’t get clear on everything that is necessary to make it a reality. Sometimes we don’t even get clear about whether or not we really want it.
For example, I always made a resolution to start exercising but was never able to stick with it. Why? I hate the thought of doing “exercises”. Things like running or jogging or taking an aerobics class sound terrible to me, so I would always start exercising and gradually stop.
Had I taken the time to get clear about what I really wanted --- better health --- I could have made a resolution that made more sense, such as walking the dog or push mowing the yard, which doesn’t “feel” like exercise.
Taking action is the only way we will get that life we want. I can almost guarantee that if you sit on the sofa all day, you will not be able to achieve any of your resolutions. However, taking action can be a gradual process.
The best way to get started is to pick one thing you can do to move you closer to your goals. I recommend choosing one resolution rather than making a big, overwhelming list. Pick one goal and commit to doing one thing every day to move closer to achieving it.
Maybe that one thing is listening to a podcast. Maybe it’s making one phone call. It could even be just to clear off the top of your desk. The point is to take action. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering; it just has to be something you can acknowledge, which takes us to the fourth step.
It's so easy to quit. I know I’ve done it. It’s even easier to quit when you can point out all the reasons that you should. One way to keep focused on your commitment is to point out all the reasons you are getting closer to your dream.
Every day, take at least one small action, and every day, acknowledge that action. Admire that cleared off desk and think about how easy it will be tomorrow to get to work at that nice, clean desk. If you find it hard to remember to do this, get a notebook and write Daily Wins on the outside of it, put it by your bed, and write your wins down before you go to sleep.
The more you acknowledge your progress, the better you will feel about yourself and the more progress you will want to make.
Finally, get the support of others. Everyone has dreams, goals, or resolutions that he or she want to achieve. One of the best ways to keep yourself on track is to have the support of others.
Maybe you need a cheerleader or someone to hold you accountable to your commitments. Whatever it is, just having someone ask you how things are going is usually enough to keep you focused. No one wants to give up when someone else believes in them and is watching their progress.
You can find that support in many ways. Maybe you have a friend who also has goals, and you could be each other’s accountability partner. Maybe you want to hire a coach; maybe you could find an online forum or group and get support from other members. Wherever you find your support system, realize that having other people in your corner is a great way to strengthen your odds of success.