Many people start out the New Year excited and say they are really ready for a better year. They tell their friends that they are ready for better times and they make lots of New Year's resolutions. The problem is that most people are only excited for the first two weeks of the New Year, then by the third week they have forgotten their resolutions and are back to doing exactly what they did before. And what usually happens is they end each year the same way they ended the year before.
Why is that?
There are two main reasons: one is because they get caught up in the "New Year's Resolution Trap" and the other is because of a lack of continuous motivation. I call it a "resolution trap" because it feels good to make New Year's resolutions, yet it rarely actualizes into anything tangible. Statistics show that the sale of diet products and health club attendance are highest in the first two weeks of the year, but the enthusiasm starts to dwindle by the end of the month.
I tell my audiences that resolutions are a nice little feel good activity, but are really a waste of time. They have no substance and rarely, if ever, create any sustained improvement in people's lives. I recommend you DO NOT make any New Year's resolutions, but rather you set some new goals for the New Year! Goals are one of the main keys to achievement. How can you distinguish a goal from a resolution? Goals are measurable, they are specific, they have a time element attached and they are written. Resolutions are nebulous, are not specific and are almost never written.
The best ways to reach your goals is to SMART them. Here's how to do it:
- Specific – Don't just say I want to lose weight. Get specific! I want to lose 20 pounds by March 1st and I'm going to eat right, exercise three times each week and not give into cravings.
- Measurable – Set a goal that is measurable so you can check your progress as you go. Don't just say, "I want to be happy." That's not measurable.
- Attainable – This means a goal that is in the realm of possibility. The idea is to push beyond your comfort zone, but not so far where it becomes impossible and you become frustrated and give up.
- Relevant – Is your goal important to you? Are you passionate about it? Does it involve your purpose? If you answer no it's going to be nearly impossible.
- Time-bound – Set a date by which you want to achieve your goals. This eliminates procrastination.
Whatever you want to achieve this year, set the goal, set the date of achievement, write it down, read it daily and GET BUSY! You will see your life change!
The next thing that stops people from growing each year is a lack of continuous motivation. They get motivated at the first of the year but don't keep it up. Some people say the problem with motivation is that it wears off. Well, so does bathing, yet most people bathe everyday (we hope). The same has to be done with motivation; it must be ongoing to maintain effectiveness. Make a commitment to read or listen to something motivational each and every day. Make a commitment to fill your mind with that which is positive and encouraging. Find something that inspires you such as a book, motivational tapes or inspirational music that makes you want to dream and then motivates you to go after your dreams.
Make a decision and make it important to seek motivation and inspiration and make it a daily part of your routine and you will make this a better year…I guarantee it! So folks, On Your Mark, Get Set, Let's Go! Let's Thrive in the New Year!