Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you accomplish your goal before the end of the year? If not, this time you’ll have to do something different.
I used to make New Year’s resolutions all the time. Well before the six-month mark, those commitments would already be long gone.
There are two basic problems with New Year’s resolutions:
First, a year is entirely too long to think about getting something done.
Inevitably, we all let other things get in the way, convincing ourselves we have plenty of time. But, the time goes so quickly and, before we know it, another New Year’s is here.
Think about it: how long can you keep up your good intentions, your intensity, and your will power when distractions or temptations show up? And when the task becomes difficult, it’s easy to justify avoiding it, ignoring it, and putting it off.
Days, weeks, and even months slip by with no immediate consequence.
When you get near the end of the year without having made any progress, you panic and try to get things done in a mad rush at the end of the year, or forget about the whole thing.
Second, without any kind of serious plan in place, you frequently have no system to get from one end of the year to the other.
Clear goals and interim deadlines help you maintain momentum to see the project through to the end.
Without a plan or a system, your resolutions are only hopes and wishes.
It’s time to get real. Forget about trying to get from one end of the year to the other. Forget about wishing and hoping to get what you want. Your dreams are too important for that. Your job is to go get it!
We’ve all heard the quip, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Or the idea that in order to tackle a complex task we have to break it down into pieces and face them one at a time. And so it is with your complex, 365-day elephant.
Try this: create a 12-week plan and work backward from there.
When you create a much shorter timeframe, you’re forced to become very clear about what you need to accomplish, how to accomplish it, and when it will be done.
The 12-week plan helps you decide what has to get done each month, each week, and each day in order to stay on target. The consequences for procrastinating for one day in a 12-week plan are much higher than over the course of a year. This gives you less time to wallow in self-pity or confusion so you can get back to working on your goal.
The beauty of a 12-week plan is that each day becomes powerful as we stay on track and make more progress than we thought possible. Before we know it, our goals and dreams start taking shape before our eyes.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Tell me in the comments!
Happy New Year!