We’re wired. We like things that are instantaneous. We’re in a world where we want whatever we want right now.
That makes resolutions pretty difficult. Often, our resolutions are for goals that take time. But, darn it, we want it right now. Instead, we’re faced with doing it again and again week-after-week and month-after-month and that can be tough. Making resolutions happen can get pretty boring. That is why many resolution-makers give up by mid-March.
Making resolutions happen means you’ll embrace the reality of your goal. When we lose weight, it’s two pounds a week – if we’re lucky. If we’re training for a marathon, it takes months of running to grow our stamina. If we’re saving for a down payment, it can take a year or two or three.
All of this means that to win at resolutions, to get to your goal, you need a plan, a timeline and check-points. Change can happen; count on it. We’ll start with the plan and over the next few days, we’ll cover the timeline and ways to keep to your plan.
Rather than dive into a huge goal, remember that there’s more to your goal than a decision.
Break your goal into small, seemingly easy steps. Small goals are so much more achievable than one huge goal. If it’s twenty pounds you seek, then look at it in five pound increments. If it’s a marathon, start with 3 or 5 mile sprints. If it’s a down payment, celebrate each and every $1,000 you set aside. That’s right, the other benefit from taking small steps to your goal – you congratulate yourself for every single success along the road to your goal.
Plan for the gazillion details that get between you and your goal. The devil is in the details. It’s a quote we’ve long heard and it absolutely relates to goal-setting. There’s so much more than the actual goal. So, start with a list of all the things you’ll have to do to make it happen.
For example, if you are planning weight loss, there’s much more than naming a diet. You’ll want to create menus, figure out shopping lists, decide which restaurants will allow you to stick to your plan.
Decide whether to tell others. That may seem a strange consideration but social scientists have uncovered counter-intuitive data. It turns out that those who are most successful at achieving change in their lives have not shared their plans with many.
Prepare for naysayers. What will you say? Count on it, there will people who will tell you that you won’t make it, that it is just too hard. Prepare your dialog. What will you say to those who try to throw cold water on your plans.
With a plan, you’ve greatly increased your chances for success. On the next posts, we’ll look at setting a timeline and ways to check in on your progress.