By: KATHY MOSEBROOK
Have you ever awakened in the spring and realized you completely forgot about your New Year’s resolutions? I won’t bore you with statistics – we know most of us bailed on those goals by now.
Remembering forgotten New Year’s resolutions feels like a wet blanket. New chores and interests beg for our attention in the spring. The smell of freshly cut grass is becoming a weekly event. There are hikes and picnics teasing us to heal spring fever.
Where do we go from here? Forget January and welcome spring with abandon? Those were good goals, but who has time for all that now?
Turns out a fresh look could give you the best of both worlds. Look and see if you should revive those goals.
Observe What Really Happened
Often we make goals in January that can be done indoors. Eat healthier, go to the gym more, declutter, spend more wisely. If you aren’t seeing much progress, take a compassionate but honest look at what happened:
- Not enough time?
- Never got started?
- Old habits too strong?
- Unexpected curve balls?
- Enthusiasm burned out?
These are stick points to expect and plan around.
Arrange Your Plate
The concept is not new: When we compare our activity versus that of highly effective people, it’s startling to consider they have the same number of hours in their day. You choose how you fill them.
It’s easy to feel like you don’t have a choice about going to work or taking care of your kids or aging parents. However, those activities reflect your values. You choose to be reliable to your family.
As busy as things feel, shifting pockets of time make room for new goals. I invite you to do this exercise:
Where exactly is your time going?
- Do a time study of at least a day in 15 min increments (a week is better)
- Note current obligations (don’t include new goals/habits)
- Watch where your time goes (include social media, texts, and games)
- Consider your physical, mental and emotional energy
Will anything change as the weather warms up? Lawn mowing and gardening might be on that list. Are there some things you are doing that don’t reflect your goals? Are you in a club that costs more time than the good it produces?
Getting rid of things stealing time and energy frees you to pursue what is most important to you. Paying attention to this next stick point is essential to making it work.
Highly successful people may be able to delegate in ways we can’t. They also carefully consider how much they take on. Determining the right goals for right now is more valuable than attacking all of the great things you want to accomplish.
Getting realistic about your time lets you plan more wisely. Maybe you can’t work on each goal daily like you planned.
If your new fitness goal takes up 75% of free time available, you have 25% left to alternate between other goals. Consistent forward progress is better than no progress, yet some goals need more time.
Is reducing fitness time an option so you have more time to spend in the kitchen learning to create healthier meals? Planning time for your learning curve is valuable to set yourself up for success. Otherwise you may never get started.
Alternatively, perhaps now isn’t the time for one or more of those New Year’s goals. Maybe other goals must take center stage right now. Putting a lot of pressure on yourself will only short-circuit your intentions. Ask yourself:
- Will I be ineffective in my efforts to cover all of these simultaneously?
- Will I strain to accomplish all of these at the same time?
- What goals, if accomplished, make the most impact?
- What goals are most needed right now?
Confidence and well-being comes with forward progress. By selecting the highest priorities, you avoid overload while gaining the courage to move something forward.
Challenge Underlying Beliefs
You have beliefs surrounding old habits. If you keep telling yourself “I don’t have time,” “I can’t help it” or “I’m not good at that sort of thing,” it’s easier to give in to excuses. You already believe you won’t succeed. This keeps unwanted habits in place.
Yet what if you make those statements a trigger? Counter the excuse with a new statement like, “I am capable of change” or “I make time for things I value.” You take an excuse and use it in a powerful way to create the desired change.
Mindset is a powerful tool to create what you want. Yet there’s another aspect you need to help you deal with unexpected curveballs.
Find the Motivation
For any (average) excuse you can throw at me, I’ve used it. Sometimes I never even manage to try.
There are people like Jon Morrow, Stephen Hawking, or Nick Vujicic who have every legitimate reason to give up. I love the way Jon Morrow dealt with his fears. He attached a worst-case scenario.
Tony Robbins, in the Robbins-Madanes training did something like this with a guy who LOVED pizza. However, after imagining the smell and look of cold, moldy pizza, he was able to accomplish a new first – turning down a slice of fresh, perfectly good pizza.
Think about your goal. Think about what you could lose if you don’t accomplish this goal. Make it as horrible as you can. Suddenly, doing whatever you don’t feel like doing sounds very possible. Your mind plays a huge part in accomplishing goals.
The last is a stick point people normally miss.
Savor the Victory
Celebrate each successful attempt. Positive motivation will get you so much farther than beating yourself up for missing the mark here or there.
Brendan Burchard, author of The Motivation Manifesto, says “A life of greater joy, power, and satisfaction awaits those who consciously design their life.
Hope That Leads to Courage
Now that you see some new possibilities, dust off those New Year’s goals.
Knowing what happened, finding where your time is going now, and being realistic about what goals are appropriate for this season lets you move forward with pleasure rather than guilt and heaviness.
Awareness of the underlying beliefs that held you back in the past, armed with worst-case scenario gives you new motivation to stick with your goals.
2017 is your year. It’s going to be different from the others because you are approaching life differently. It’s messy, yet you are finding ways to be more effective. Savor the process. Enjoy knowing that you are taking steps to becoming your best self. You are so worth it!