This is the time of year when everyone is thinking about their New Year’s Resolutions and how they are going to follow through on the commitment they most likely announced:
- To themselves
- To their friends
- And if they’re ballsy enough, to the world (via an inspirational Instagram post)
It’s like this time of year we all declare war on everything that’s “bad” in our lives and make an oath to change it—the notorious New Year’s resolution. Thanksgiving was the time to be thankful, but this is the time of year when we review all of the things we don’t like in our life—the time when we finally decide that this is going to be the year that we change!
If you want a better shot at following through on your New Year’s Resolutions this year, add appreciation, action and accountability.
Rarely do we give ourselves praise.
We never show ourselves appreciation.
And God forbid, we should look back and celebrate our accomplishments.
No. No. No.
We must beat ourselves down into thinking that our life is a mess and we need to revamp it in the new year. That’s the only way to get better, right?
I don’t know about you, but it sounds kinda strange to me.
But guess what? We are all guilty of it. It’s engrained in our society that when we reach the end of something, we focus on the negative.
- What did we do wrong?
- What were our failures?
- What do we need to stop/start doing?
This leads us into the first step that we’re missing for setting and accomplishing our New Year’s Resolutions—appreciation.
Before you even think about making a resolution, show yourself some love by praising yourself for all of your accomplishments.
Last year was the first time I actually showed myself some appreciation and praised myself for my accomplishments. And you know what? It made a huge difference in the way I approached 2016.
“First, you have to appreciate where you came from and all that you have accomplished along the way. Only then will you truly recognize where it is you need to go.” —Coach O.B.
The problem is that you never took the next step.
That is the problem with a “Resolution.” It’s only one of the steps. A resolution is only a decision to do or not to do something.
- I am going to create a healthier lifestyle.
- I am going to lose weight.
- I am going to read more.
- I will not eat sweets.
- I am not going to smoke any more.
A decision is nothing without the acton behind it to make it happen. This is why you need to add step two to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions. You have to have a plan to take action.
- How are you going to do it?
- How are you going to track it?
It’s one thing to say that you’re going to do something, but to actually do it is a different story. This is where most people fall off. They get an idea of what whey want, but never make a plan for how to get it. The best way to take action on a goal is to reverse-engineer the process for achieving it. Start at the end and work your way back. For example: Let’s reverse-engineer the goal of losing 20 pounds in 3 months.
(Notice the goal is specific, measurable, realistic and geared to a timetable.)
Losing 20 pounds in 3 months = 6.6 pounds per month = 1.65 pounds per week.
See what I did there? I took the big goal, which could seem overwhelming, and broke it down into smaller goals, which are much easier to digest. Let’s break it down even further:
What would I need to do to lose 1.65 pounds per week?
- Complete 3 training sessions per week.
- Eat protein and vegetables at each meal.
- Eliminate refined sugars from my diet.
- Drink 60 ounces of water each day.
- Sleep 7-8 hours each night.
Now, I could list a dozen different actions to describe what needs to be done to lose those 20 pounds; but remember, we always want to be confident we can complete our actions. What you should notice is that each action listed above can be measured and tracked. So, for example, in my journal I might record something like this:
- Training Sessions – ( _ / 36 ) **3x/week = 36 total training sessions in 90 days)
- Sleep 7 – 8 Hours – ( _ / 90 ) ** 90 nights of sleep to measure
I think you get the point. I took a big goal of “lose 20 pounds” and broke it down to actionable steps I can start to take today. It’s much less overwhelming to look at the action you can take today to succeed rather than the long winding path to reach your overall goal. Find your “one thing” and get after it.
The third and final step, which most people never take, is to set up a system for accountability.
- How are you going to keep yourself on track?
- How are you going to reward yourself when you accomplish it?
If you want to achieve your goal, you have to put a system in place to keep yourself accountable. I think the best way to do this is to have a coach. Look at every top athlete, top performer, top business person, top pet groomer—the field doesn’t matter—I’ll bet anything that they have a coach. Everyone should have one. I have one myself. Why?
- To keep me accountable
- To guide me
- To provide feedback
- To push me to be the best version of myself
Don’t worry. There are other ways to keep yourself accountable. A support group—create or join a group of friends and family to keep each other accountable. It’s that simple. Get some friends together and say, “Hey, let’s share our goals with each other and kick each other’s butts if we don’t stay on track.” BOOM! Accountability.
Keep a journal. Take the reverse-engineering method I showed you and write it in a journal. I love this idea and use it myself every quarter for my 90-day outcomes. You can use an electronic journal, but for me there’s something about using pen and paper that makes it more real.
This can be a place where you measure and track your progress as well as reflect back on why you have or haven’t stayed on track. Just like a scientist, the more data you have, the more likely you will repeat results or make calculated adjustments along the way.
Try one of these methods, and if you don’t think it’s working, I’m pretty sure you can buy a wristband that will shock you every time you screw up. Maybe that’s more your style?