It’s February. Another New Years Eve has come and gone, and probably so have some of your resolutions. We all raised a glass of Champagne at the stroke of midnight and took a quick moment to answer that age old question: what am I going to change in the coming year?
Some of us already knew what needed to be done, others just blurted out an answer coupled with a short joke (to hide the nerves). Whether we actually believed in this promise or not, it’s simply human nature to want something new, a change that lifts us and gives life meaning, hope.
So now, just checking in: how are you doing with your resolutions, are you on track?
One month has gone, school is back, work is in full swing and our schedules are already full. Even with the best intentions, most of us are already pushing against the same conditions and fall back into habitual patterns. We re-negotiate with our usual selves and fall back on the same spot, already questioning why we signed up for the gym membership. That’s it, the promise is broken and we feel even worse than when we started.
The thing is, to truly change means to overcome, shift or move something deep in our lives and there is no shortcut. Your New Year resolution is simply put a wish that needs to transform into a goal to be achieved. And to make this goal a success you need a plan that can be easily followed, keeps you motivated and excites you.
1. Pick one thing – make it meaningful and compelling
First of all, have you actually decided yet what your resolution should be? Cut through the overwhelm by focusing on the one thing you want to change. This is your opportunity to slow down, look in the mirror and reflect on what is most important, what you want to bring into your life. Warren Buffet is famous for saying write out the top 25 things you want to achieve in life, number them by priority, then cross out the bottom 20 and work on your list of five.
In my book Rediscover YOUR Athlete Within, I talk about picking your one thing because it gives clarity and a good base to start from. What is the one thing that really gives you meaning, fulfilment and would make you proud if you were really successful at it? Why? What is that one thing that would bring out the best version of you? You’ll be more likely to stick to your plan if your goal fuels your deep desires and hopes.
New Year’s resolutions somehow seem to relate mostly to our health, our wellbeing, like getting out of bed earlier, eating better, feeling stronger or just losing some weight. The premise of Rediscover YOUR Athlete Within is to get your mojo back and fall in love with movement again, on your own terms, doing what you love, being going to the gym, riding your bike, gardening or going for walks. Just pick one.
This first step helps turn your wishes into one clear cut purpose, a promise that you can set targets and create goals to work towards.
2. Allow for change – make time and space
Very little gets done if you don’t make time and space for it to actually happen. If you consider the full schedules and busy lives we already run, it seems very unlikely we can take on more things without prioritising and putting our goals to the top of the list. Start by decluttering the space around you, make it special, inviting, calming. That simple action will help clear your head and provide an environment where it is simpler to organise, prioritise and make time for what counts. We do that every day at work or sorting the day-to-day family calendar, but when was the last time (if ever) you took a day out of your busy schedule to plan your own life goals?
3. Write it down – make it real
The actual act of writing on paper triggers your brain into action, beginning a new level of organisation and pathway ahead. Not only that: research has shown over and over that when goals are written down, you are more likely to achieve them, putting you in the top 3% of success rate.
You can take it a step further and share your goals with someone else, enabling you to see them clearly enough to explain them as well as now drawing a finish line.
4. Create rituals and routines – make it achievable
The only thing separating who you are now and the person you will become in three years time is the habits you form. Change starts with a new ritual and it’s not necessarily the size or speed of it but the commitment to daily conditioning that will make a difference. It’s discipline. The trick here is to start small, with the 1%’s. What is the one thing you could implement right now that you can commit to daily that will drive you towards your goal? Have fun with it, make it something you can actually achieve. Set yourself up for success.
5. Feed your progress – make it measurable
Progress inspires more effort and ignites the journey, but often we are in the dark without a clear and specific measurement to know we are stepping closer to our target. Progress requires consistency and metrics. Define what your goal looks like to you on an exact day and then what it looks like in a week, month, half a year’s time. Be specific with dates and numbers, think of the elements you can measure and work out the increments. You will build confidence as you go through the steps and feel you’re definitely moving forward.
The good news is any day really is New Years Eve when it comes to setting intentions for your future. Just by taking a chunk of time out, brainstorming and writing, the art of goal setting can bring to light what is important to you in your life and make you grow. Time to make time and go after your one thing.