We are one week into 2017. How are those resolutions doing? Have you given up? Going strong but secretly wondering how you will maintain them?
Before you give up and feel that you’ve let yourself down, why not review your resolutions now and let’s see what you really want to focus on.
Review your list of resolutions and put them in order of importance to YOU (this is very important – it needs to be what’s important to you not your other half, your parents, your children, your friends or what you think you should do).
Where are you today? For the first item on your list – look at how far you are from achieving it today. For example, you have set a resolution of exercising 30 minutes every day but currently you don’t exercise at all. You can immediately see that, in this example, setting such a bold goal has a lot of challenges and change. Some of that change is in how you think, some of it is in your actions. Change is difficult, not impossible, but difficult. The odds of success decrease by making it such a huge leap rather than taking small steps to get you there.
Focus. Let’s focus on this one by taking your starting point and, being realistic, set yourself small goals to build up to your target. For example, perhaps you start by exercising for 30 minutes once a week for the next month. If you can’t think of any logical steps, think about why you aren’t already doing – what blocks you and how can you overcome those obstacles?
Make sure that the first target is clear and realistic. If you currently don’t do any exercise, commit to walking around the block once a week even if it only takes 5 minutes. Increasing your business sales? Commit to one call a week or whatever is a challenge for you and do it.
Confirm. Now that you have the steps look at this item and compare it to the rest of your list. Given the time and energy needed to make this change, is it still a priority compared to the others? No? Then ditch it. Move to the next important item and repeat the process until you reach one that you feel really is where you want to focus your time and energy.
Start! You may want to give yourself a reward every time you achieve a baby step. Something suitably sized and appropriate (dinner out if you stuck to your diet that day is probably not the best reward!)
Increase. As you start to achieve your baby steps, increase them gradually. Decide that for this week and this week alone, you are going to exercise for 2 days. By making it a short term commitment, you can take away some of the excuses you may be making to yourself (e.g. I don’t have time, its going to be raining all week, I’m sick, …) Once you achieve it, do it again. If you go three times, that doesn’t mean that you have to do it every week it just means that you did great! Leave the target at one so you can celebrate the success.
Reassess – when you are regularly achieving the first step, look at what the next one will be – is it twice a week or have you actually been doing twice so you want to do 3 times every other week?
You also want to regularly review the other items that you removed from your resolution list. Have you made such great progress that you could add something else? Just don’t risk the progress you are making by taking on too much.
Important – we are all different. Some of us need a very difficult challenge to be set so we can rise to it. For others, like me, bite size steps work better. If you are the “rise to the challenge” type – these plans will still help, but you may find that your baby steps are achieved more quickly or slightly larger. Just remember the key thing is to sustain it. As someone said once, quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it loads of times!
Be proud! You will have achieved something that is difficult for you.
Don’t worry whether it’s difficult for everyone else or whether you think it should be hard. If it wasn’t difficult for you in some way, you wouldn’t have set it as a resolution. I’d love to know how you’re getting on! I have already gone through my list and set bite size steps so am hopeful that my progress will continue.
Don’t let the friend who takes it all on at once and succeeds, get you down – we’re all different and you undoubtedly achieve things that they wonder how you do it:-)
Finally, if you miss a target, don't give up - look at it again, see if it really was realistic, if it was, dust yourself off and try again. If it wasn't, set it to something achievable and start again.
If you'd like to talk to see how I can help you with your business objectives, don't hesitate to get in touch.