Create an action plan, not meaningless words.
I want to lose weight. I want to make more money. I want to eat healthier. These are common New Year’s resolutions all destined to fail.
These nonspecific statements are just words. Setting a goal is one step, but creating a plan is what leads to success. Resolutions fail. Plans work.
What do you want to change?
Before you create a New Year’s resolution, stop and reflect on what you want to change in your life. What is the most important issue to you? Scratch everything off the list of what you should change keeping only what you want to change. We all have things we should change, but these may or may not be the issue about which we are most passionate.
What does success look like to you?
Once you have decided what you want to change, imagine yourself at the end of the road. The goal has been achieved. The race has been won. What is the result or outcome? If your goal is a 20-pound weight loss then imagine how you would feel, how you would look and how life would be different. Make sure that the outcome is acceptable, appealing and motivating. If visualization of your future self is not motivating then you may have chosen the wrong goal.
How did you achieve this goal?
View your self from the future and determine how you got there. What were the steps you took to get to your imagined outcome? Write down the steps. Working backward allows you to evaluate what changes in your life are necessary. Create your plan based on these discoveries.
Decide to change
Deciding to change may sound silly but it is crucial. Your mind will constantly work against you making excuses and rationalizations. Once the decision is made then there is no more debate. It is done. We must internalize the decision.
Measure your progress
Find a way to track your steps. If your goal is weight loss then use Myfitness pal. If your goal is to exercise, then use a Fitbit or an Apple watch. If your goal is freedom from debt, then track your credit cards. Some hire a personal trainer, a financial counselor or an executive coach. Choose a system that works for you to monitor your journey and to hold yourself accountable. Analyze the results and make the necessary changes. Be open to change, adapt and adjust.
Remember why you are making the change
Maintain a laser-like focus on the underlying reasons you are seeking change in your life. Why are you making this change? Find ways to remind yourself each day of your WHY. Making a resolution will not trigger change. Create a plan and have the grit to stick to it.