New years resolutions are a thing.
A thing that a lot of people all over the world think about – I think about them. There are the common ones that everyone aspires too: get fit, lose weight, stop drinking alcohol. Plus the not so common ones, such as learn how to clone Nutella (for some even more interesting ones check out: (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/bizarre-new-years-resolutions-twitter-weird-wonderful-web/))
But I don’t really write any. Because you see, when one thinks of resolutions, one also thinks about the fact that most of them are never met.
So instead of writing new years resolutions, I write down goals. And with each of my goals I write an action plan of how I’m going to achieve them.
I have recently just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, ‘The Happiness Project.’ Rubin is a perfectly normal human, with a family and a job and a life that she loves. Yet one day she comes to the realisation that there are all these things that she wants to do, yet she’s just not doing them. Stuck in the constant flow of everyday habitual life. Rubin realised, “The days are long, but the years are short. Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” Rubin realised that although she was happy, she could be even happier, if only she started to do these things she wanted to do, instead of just thinking about them.
Because that is the problem with new years resolutions a lot of the time – you think about what you want to change, the first step. But then you stop and go no further, stuck on the hard part of “starting.” Starting to make a change.
Pushed into “starting” by her realisation, Rubin made an action plan. For each month of the year she focused on a value; for example January was Vitality – boost energy, March was Work – aim higher and November was Attitude – keep a contented heart. Within each of these months she had her individual goals – concrete goals based on abstract values. In January there was ‘go to sleep earlier; exercise better; toss, restore, organise; tackle a nagging task; and act more energetic.’ Based on Father Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues Chart, Rubin made a ‘resolutions chart,’ where she wrote down her goals and put a cross or a tick next to them after EACH day, depending on whether she had accomplished them.
And thus throughout the year, Rubin became happier through making habits out of the things she had always wanted to do. Although there were times where she slipped – we all do – she had her chart and her goals right there to push her back on track again.
SO, the question is how do you make the changes you want to make in your life?
1. Make them goals, not new years resolutions.
2. Think about what you want to change, what you want to do, then write them down – remember concrete not abstract i.e. rather than “be more friendly” try “say hello to new people,” which is something you can actually do.
3. Make an action plan – you want to lose weight and get fit? Think about HOW you are going to do this…e.g. exercise 20mins everyday, stop buying processed foods, by whole foods instead, etc.
4. Make a chart which you can consult everyday – helping you to remember your goals and to motivate you through progress achieved.
5. START, START RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not next month. RIGHT NOW.
Get off your couch and go for a run. Go outside and take some photos.
Go right now and DON’T STOP.
Run tomorrow and the next day and the next. Make your goals your daily habit.
Because you see, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” #quoteoftheday – John C. Maxwell
So go start and I wish you the best year yet!
A quotaholic xx