Happy New Year!
The time has come, the ball has dropped, the clock continually counts down the 31 million seconds you have this year to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. This 2nd of 3 posts is designed to facilitate successful New Years resolutions, using a simple Q&A format to address why and how, anyone, anywhere, and at anytime can move from a past of little success with New Years (NY) resolutions to accomplish your dreams. Make this your best year ever.
Q1. Why do you set New Year’s Resolutions?
A1. Perhaps you don’t? Or, you do it out of habit. Or, because New Years (NY) is NEW – a time for a fresh start, a new journey wherever you decide to go, whatever you decide to make of your 365 days. Maybe, you set NY resolutions because you like the feeling of success and accomplishment, and because you know that in order to make whatever you need to deliver on a daily basis (24/7) you must be clear on what you want to achieve.
Q2. How do you know you’ve been successful, how do you define accomplishment?
A2. Accomplishment varies with the tasks, how you measure, and your intention. Sometimes, like in competitions whoever follows the rules and finishes first is by definition the “winner.” Other times you “win” just because you gave it a 100% best effort – and best efforts, regardless of winning, always feel good if you let it be a measure of accomplishment. No matter what, the journey and your inner growth are an essential part of how you benefit from successful New Years Resolutions – even if you don’t accomplish everything you wanted, when you wanted, as well as you wanted to.
Q3. What are best efforts?
A3. To me best efforts, for an effective process (journey) and greatest likelihood of success consistently require:
- A clear, realistic, and ideally a passionately articulated intention with a meaningful rationale. If you have multiple resolutions/goals that you desire to accomplish over the same time frame, they should always be considered together. If your “intentions” are big, e.g., a wedding, completing a degree, or a fundamental shift in your spiritual well-being or health; to be effective you must limit your resolutions, and ideally should memorize them with key words.
- A personalized, structured plan is based on personal abilities, limitations/competing factors, time commitments, and environmental considerations that sequentially lead to building various aspects of what the individual needs to do (tasks), with progressive benchmarks to judge progress (measures) and a scheduled review of progress to refine action plans (feedback). Most quality plans require background information about what you want to accomplish and need (like those suggested in the NYR Post #1), along with a sequential process like that found in the Wellness Compass Journey, that provide you with templates to help this steps.
- A 100% focused commitment to follow-thru to completion on a daily, sometime minute to minute basis. This require ongoing sacrifice; because no matter what, we can’t have/do/be everything we or anyone wants us to be all the time. It also requires an accountability format, a way of keeping track of your accomplishments that works for you daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. It could be a combination of methods including a planner, a checklist, phone apps, monthly and or/quarterly reassessments or check-in’s with your support team.
- An effective, affordable support team that provides you useful advice and encouragement. Usually, this includes your significant other or another person or group of persons who are committed to your success (and vice versa) as well as experts like doctors, coaches, financial planners, etc.
Q4. How do I get started if I’ve never been successful before in keeping my NY resolutions?
A4. First, resolve to be successful: You must believe you can. Without belief you will most likely sabotage your own success.
Second, be realistic yet passionate. Without passion you will fail. But be realistic; don’t aim too high or try to do something too fast. Instead, aim to overcome a single very specific, meaningful challenge that once accomplished will build your confidence and lead to greater success. It should be the first major step, in what could be a series of breakthroughs or “personal bests”. For instance, you commit to completing a 10K walk/run in 3-6 months and for a first step it could be running an entire mile, then 2, then 3, etc.
Third, visualize your success in overcoming multiple obstacles step-by-step, meeting benchmarks, celebrating your accomplishment, maintaining your skills/habits, and applying what you’ve learned to the next step in the process.
For example, if you were a baby who is just starting to stand up holding on to things (a cruiser), you would visualize yourself first standing without holding on to anything for a second, a few seconds, cruising along furniture, taking a single step or two with just finger assistance, taking a few more steps with just finger assistance, until you can take a few steps by yourself (falling and getting back up), taking more steps (falling and getting back up) until you can consistently walk. Imagine support from loved ones, looks of happiness on others’ faces and their pictures, the great feeling of accomplishment, nods of approval from other new toddlers, and the looks of admiration from those who are still cruising or crawling. You are then ready to take on the next challenge of running (going faster) using the same step-by-step process, perhaps with a few more bumps and bruises, and the obligation of wearing shoes!
If you were sticking with a resolution of doing a 10K (6Miles) on July 4th, you may set your first goal of doing a mile in January, three miles (5K) by April Fools Day…and eventually, build up to doing a half-marathon before Thanksgiving. Along the way you’d also probably struggle with sore knees, feet or hamstrings, lose a toenail or two, take a fall, lose weight, look better, buy new clothes, etc. And, don’t forget to toast to your success!
Q5. What if you are ready for more? Can you provide an example of what you do or did?
A5. See New Years Resolution #3. Sharing is a key to success.
I expect to periodically share my struggles and success at www.facebook/getwellgetfitgethappy – and encourage you to share your expectations and process with others so it will help you stay accountable and motivated.