As the year winds down, many of us will sit down to think about and set New Year’s resolutions. Less, but still some will go a step further and call them goals. Still fewer will take another step and actually write them down for frequent reflection and reminders. And, only a fraction of the original lot will put in the time and effort to reverse-engineer those goals, putting action behind them so they become quantifiable results.
Do you want to make this the year that your resolutions and dreams begin to come to fruition?
Or, are you going to be happy and satisfied with yet another year of making resolutions that fail to last even three weeks into the New Year? Decide now. If you’re in the second group, you can stop reading; I have nothing to offer you. If you’re in the first group, however, hold on to your hats because we’re about to embark on the journey of a life-time – and I can hardly wait to hear about your successes and achievements!
- Make a list of dreams you’d like to turn to results in the coming year.
Remember: This is one year – not two, five, or ten. Keep them realistic and manageable. That said, this year’s goals can be part of bigger goals that will take a longer time frame to accomplish, which is okay; just see and know it for what it is.
- Pare that list down to your top three-to-five highest priorities.
It’s not “bad” to have more, and I don’t personally think there’s a right or wrong answer here. What life has taught me, though, is that, for the majority of people, focus is easier to achieve and maintain when there are fewer distractions. So, the more you can place a laser-focus on your target, the better your results are going to be and the faster they’ll come.
- Reverse engineer the goal.
What does that mean? Well, this is the part where you really begin to exert some mental power and time into the process because it means you need to actually think about the steps it will take to achieve that goal.
For instance, if you want to lose weight or become more healthy in the New Year (unsurprisingly one of the most common – and least fulfilled – resolutions that people make each and every year), put some thought into what this means for you. What defines “weight loss” for you? Is it 10, 30, or 100 pounds? Everybody’s different, so define what’s best for you. Then, choose the steps that are going to help you make this a reality. You may end up with an action plan that looks something like this:
GOAL: Weigh “X” pounds by December 31, 2015
- Eat one serving of fresh fruits and vegetables each per day
- Eat six small meals each day instead of two or three big ones
- Go out to eat one time per week as a reward for sticking to my plan
- Enhance my food regimen with high-quality vitamins and minerals to maximize my energy, stamina, mental performance, etc. (Free Health Assessment available here)
- Do some kind of cardio workout 20 to 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- Do some (light) weight training 20 to 30 minutes ever Tuesday and Thursday
- Weigh myself every morning and record my progress
- Envision myself as this lean, healthy machine daily (5 to 15 minutes)
But what if your goal is non-physical? Let’s say… financial, since most people rack up a lot of credit card and other debt at Christmas then try to recover from it all year long — so they can do it again next year, right? This is the year that pattern gets interrupted, and the way you look at and feel about money moves to a higher plain. Your plan may look more like:
GOAL: Eliminate “XYZ” Credit Card Debt
- Create and adhere to a budget (based on percentages, not dollar amounts, for psychological reasons; aligned with your frequency of pay)
- Contact my credit card providers and request a lower interest rate
- Improve my financial education by reading on the topic 20 minutes daily, by those who are where I want to be or are at least debt-free
- Apply a consistent additional amount to my payment every month – or make a partial payment every time you get paid
- Set-up separate accounts for different purposes: savings for short-term accumulation, checking for paying expenses, special-purpose savings for taxes or insurance or household expenditures…
- Give to some cause or charity every month (or pay period)
- Match your “giving” to yourself, and put it in another account or investment vehicle
- Plug-in to a free Financial Freedom Friday call for knowledge, strategies, and support (click the link or send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details)
See, the thing is, most people make resolutions and goals with the greatest of intentions; they simply fail take actions that drive results.
And, honestly, most people try to rely on themselves to “make the magic happen”. In reality, though, the encouragement, support, and sharing of ideas and knowledge you get by working with others who have (a) either “been there, done that” or (b) are like-minded and also taking action will compound and accelerate your progress, getting you results beyond anything you can imagine.
Make your plan today – not midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Keep your “head down”, focusing on your goals; and by this time next year, you’ll come up for air, look back at how you and your life has transformed, and be amazed by how much you’ve achieved.
Your partner in success…