5 Ways to keep your New Year’s Resolutions

Finding a treadmill at the gym in January is like finding a parking spot at the mall the weekend before Christmas.  It’s ridiculously tough!  We all know why.  We also know that by March most of that same New Year’s resolution crowd will be gone.

If you are someone who decided to make some New Year’s resolutions this year, this quick article can serve as the difference maker that has you still running on that treadmill in March.

These aren’t special techniques that work well for some, and not for others.  These are proven strategies that apply to any goal or dream.  Before I even get to the strategies, it’s super important to be clear on this:

Ideas don’t work unless you do the work.

Results don’t change unless the activities change.  Plain and simple.  Well I guess it’s not so simple or this article wouldn’t even be needed.  But it’s the truth.  You have to understand that you need to change your habits and your belief system if you want to change.  John Maxwell says it perfectly, “You will never change your life, until you change something you do daily.  The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Understanding that if you want to change your life you have to change your behaviors, is the first step to actually changing.  Ok, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the article.  Unless your New Year’s goal was to lose a bunch of weight, then let’s get to the Kale chips and water of the article.

5 Ways to keep your New Year’s Resolutions

1.  Make it a goal, to start setting goals

Research shows that only 3% of people set goals for themselves throughout the year.  Yet, research also shows that 45% of people make New Year’s Resolutions.  See the problem?  New Year’s Resolutions are really just a fancy way of saying goals, and goal setting just like all disciplines takes practice.  If we want to get better at something, then we need to make it part of our life, not just something we try at the beginning of the year.

Remember, goal setting is a skill.  If you were trying to learn to play the piano, what would be your approach?  You would start to learn a few notes at a time right?  You wouldn’t expect yourself to be able to play full songs by day two.  Treat your goals the same way.  Start with small goals and just start to develop the habit of stretching yourself and reaching for more.  If you are going to kick off the New Year with a dedication to change, then set a resolution to set target goals each month of the year.

The first goal is to become the type of person who sets and accomplishes goals.

2.  Get back on track quickly

This is a big one!

A very important thing to remember is that you will get off track at some point, we all do.  A huge difference maker is that successful people regroup faster and learn from mistakes.  When you get off track don’t throw your hands up in defeat and convince yourself you can’t do it.  Put the past in the past and start fresh from today.  This happens so often in weight loss or fitness goals.  We show some good discipline, maybe even for a week or two, but then one night we order the cheesecake, and bam, the whole thing unravels.  When you get off track from your goals, whether they are fitness, weight, spiritual, financial, or whatever, don’t beat yourself up when you get off track.  This only makes it harder to start again.

Getting off track does not mean you can’t get back on.

Allow yourself to regroup.  Be tough on yourself, but also understand that you are human and you are going to make mistakes.  Success is not a straight line.  You are going to have ups and downs.  When you have downs, put it behind you and keep moving forward.

3.  Be very clear about your goals

Vague goals equal vague results.

Make sure you have a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish.  The process and systems you establish will ultimately decide whether you reach your goals (oops, I gave away strategy #4), but you still need clarity on the big vision.

You can be the best marksman in the world, but if you don’t know where the target is, you will never hit it.  Be very clear about what it is you are trying to accomplish and why.

4.  Focus on the process

Ok, you have the big vision in mind, now emotionally detach from it.  Huh??

People want quick results, but the reality is there is no easy journey for wealth or health.  It takes hard work every day.  You have to take it day by day and focus on the process.

Focus on the process and don’t become emotionally attached to the results.

The process is where we establish good habits.  For example, saying I want to lose 10 pounds, or I want to earn x amount of dollars, only focuses on the results and not the plan or habits to get there.  Be very specific when setting your goals, and be specific about the process or the schedule, not just the results.  Don’t get emotionally attached to losing 10 pounds, get emotionally attached to your commitment to work out.

Let me put it this way – If you focused all your energy on just the results, would you reach your goals?  Maybe, but probably not.  What if you focused all your energy on the process, would you reach your goals?  More than likely.  You can’t focus on the finish line and not train for the actual race.  Success comes from discipline around the fundamentals and the process.

Use the results as a measurement to identify if changes need to be made, but don’t become emotionally attached to them.  Focus on the process, with the big vision in mind.

5.  Develop a strong why – You have the goals, you have identified the process not just the intended results, now you need to make sure you uncover your “why.” Developing your why is the most important thing you can do to keep specific goals or resolutions.

If your home was on fire, would you run in to save your favorite hat?  No.  What if your child was in there?  Now obviously, that is an extreme example and more about risk/reward, but the point is, if you have a strong enough why, you can achieve things you never even thought possible.

Write down your goals, uncover the process you will follow, and then write the reason you are doing it.  Dig deep on this one.  Don’t just say I’m working out to lose weight.  That isn’t a strong why.  Write, I’m working out because I am making a promise to myself that I will run that marathon this year.  Or, I’m working out because I’m sick and tired of waiting to chase my dreams because I think I need to lose “the weight” first.  Or, I’m waking up 2 hours earlier every day this week because I want to start following my passion and make my dreams a reality.

If you have a clear picture and a burning desire for why you are doing something, you will find a way to make it last.

Develop a why that is greater than any obstacle you will inevitably face. 

Cheers to a new year filled with abundance, personal growth, and love.

Make it an awesome year,

Kevin Slagle

Another awesome article about taking action this year is Life Lesson from a Dollhouse.

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