Secrets to Fulfilling New Years ResolutionsBelieve it or not I once sold Encyclopedias door to door.
One day the president of the company was giving a motivational talk at a meeting. He announced a contest. The first person to complete all of his or her New Years Resolutions would win a set of free encyclopedias. He said that the resolutions could be what ever we wanted as long as they were real ones - not easy, made up ones just to win the contest.
I love books and was very motivated. I spent time thinking about my goals. I came up with a rather long list of New Years Resolutions. However, everything on the list was very doable for me. I was realistic - if I shot too high in my expectations of myself, I would blow my chances of winning. I also made them enough of a challenge to make sure they would qualify for the contest.
In essence they were a number of steps and simple milestones that I wanted to take and reach in both my business and personal life that would make me happier, healthier and more successful. After finalizing my list, I began to work on achieving my goals right away.
I thought to win the contest I would probably need to complete everything by the end of January. As the end of the month approached I clearly was not going to complete all of my resolutions. However, I was feeling good about what I had been able to accomplish. I am the kind of person who enjoys checking items off my list and I had checked off enough to feel a sense of accomplishment.
I kept focused as one by one I was able to check off the rest of the items on the list. I think it was sometime in March when I had finally completed my resolutions. It felt good. Though I knew someone else must have already won the contest, at my first opportunity I wanted the company president to know that I did finally complete my list of New Years Resolutions.
You can imagine my surprise when he told me that I won the Encyclopedia set! I was already happy to have completed my goals. This was icing on the cake. I still have the set and my family continues to use them - sometimes old fashioned books just work better than googling! Years later I had a quiet, delicate yoga student who taught me the truth about some very common advice.
She had come to a few group yoga classes. She asked for a private session and wisely said that she would like to have a 5 minute yoga routine that she could do every morning. She knew that she would be able to practice for five minutes and stick to it.
Her case was complicated - from old injuries, new ones and past and present realities... Yet I was able to come up with a simple 5 minute routine that she could do first thing every morning. She thanked me and stopped coming to the group yoga classes.
One year later she called me to say that she would like another private session. She was feeling so much better now and felt that she could now do a 10 minute practice every morning and wanted me to help her with a routine. We met and reviewed how she was doing and what her new goals were. Then I created and taught her a 10 minute routine.
I was amazed with what she shared with me and what I saw in her. Her chronic pain was gone! She felt healthier and happier. She looked more radiant and strong. And all of this from just 5 minutes a day! I always said to my students that 5 minutes a day was better than nothing - that it was a good place to start. But I had never before seen with my own eyes the amazing results that can come with a regular but very doable, short practice. So here are the secrets for achieving New Years Resolutions.
First of all take some time and think about your goals. They may be around money, weight loss, new adventures, health and/or relationships. Instead of writing as a resolution a big picture end result or something that is quite far from your present reality, like I want to make X dollars by the end of this year or loose XX pounds immediately, think of the specific steps that you will need to take to achieve these broad goals.
Second come up with simple ways to help achieve your goals. Make these steps your resolutions instead of the larger, big picture goals. For earning more money you might make goals like make new business cards, contact 5 new potential clients within a reasonable time frame, learn how to use social net working for your business, etc. For weight loss make goals such as get enough sleep (to help reduce sugar and carb cravings), take yoga classes twice a week, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet (set specific goals, such as one serving each of dark green leafies, a yellow or orange vegetable like a carrot, one fruit high in vitamin C like a tomato or orange plus two other vegetables or fruit daily), hike twice a week rain or shine etc.
Third, ask yourself are there any things that need doing that have been nagging you like cleaning your closets, visiting friends or writing letters to relatives? These tasks can be good items for your New Years Resolutions. Sometimes we never get to our resolutions because we get tired of thinking about all of things we should be doing that we don’t have much energy left for the doing!
Again make the list doable. For example instead of cleaning out all of the closets in the house and the garage, put on your list to clean out the hall closet, write one letter instead of proclaiming to write every month, and make that lunch date with a friend. The energy freed up from completing these smaller more manageable tasks will help you move forward toward your broader, larger goals.
Lastly don’t make the list too long! Make it doable. Perhaps aim for completing tasks in a month or two. Set a goal for taking hikes and/or yoga classes twice a week each for three months. Then start right away - daily work on one goal at a time. For the long term goals where you need to build up a habit of regularity, be patient but determined. If you slip - miss a class, just couldn’t go for that hike in the rain, then don’t dwell on what you missed but look ahead to the next week to fulfill your goal. If at the end of three months you went to class and/or took a hike more often than not, and you are still going, then consider yourself successful!
Time to make my list now. Let’s see - what are my doable resolutions going to be for this year ?