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Diary of a New Year’s Junkie: Resolutions Rock!

It’s January 1st! I always love opening a new journal in a new year with a new plan, and a new pen. Most important to have everything shiny and new. Clear the mind of all of last year’s clutter, especially those unfulfilled dreams, and the too many sweet indulgences, leading to the unfulfilled weight loss plan of 2014.

Oh well, operation clean slate starts right now.A good time to start something new.

How exciting! I wish every day felt so fresh and full of promise. It’s like the first day driving home your brand new car with a huge grin plastered on your face, your new baby so clean and perfect. It feels like the world pauses in awe, all the stoplights are green and people smile at you in appreciation as you sleekly whiz by them. But not silently, as if driving an electric car. That’s just creepy, coming up on people unawares and scaring the crap out of them. No, this car sounds confident and powerful, but not deafening. Too loud is just as insensitive to people as too quiet. Now if they could just get rid of that ‘new car smell’, all would be perfect. Gives me a massive headache…

So, back to the point. New year, new plans, new purpose, brand-new motivation. New is good. Brand-new is even better; no previous failures to sully the waters of this new start. I used to think I had motivation, but when days, weeks, months go by with no progress, evidence tends to point to motivation missing in action. Now, though, this time, I feel more connected to doing the best things for me. And why not? Who else will lose the weight for me? Who could possibly care as much as I do if I learn to speak Italian? Why would anyone else come over and cook all my meals for me?

Well, they wouldn’t, would they? It’s all up to me. I am in charge. I’m the boss. When you want something done…

Starting to sound a bit lonely. But, when you get down to it, you really are all alone in the world. People come and go, some you enjoy, some you tolerate, some you even pawn off on unsuspecting friends, but a few you love. A lot. And they make everything else worth it.

Okay then. Time to get serious. One fantastic year coming up. I am in charge, and it will be full of fantastic times with the people I love, trips to places I’ve never been, a new wardrobe in a size 8 (or 6!) and many impressive interactions (perhaps cooking?) with other fluent Italian speakers. Si! Molto bene!

 


Making Your Plan For Success

 

Most people will pause at the start of a new year to think about the upcoming months and what they would like to accomplish. Many people approach a new year with a list of Resolutions, those big items that can be life-changing if completed. Too often they are not.

It makes sense to first take stock of what you have already completed from your list of goals. Actually, reviewing and updating your goals should be done at regular intervals, say quarterly or monthly, depending on the length of time needed to complete your goals. This process helps you see where you are right now in relation to where you want to be. And we all know that having a map won’t help you get where you want to go if you don’t know where your starting point is.

Once you have reviewed your progress and where you are now, you can begin the fun part of goal setting. Yes, the FUN part! This is where you get to brainstorm and think BIG about what it is you want in your life. Do not censor your ideas, just take out some paper and ask yourself this:

What do I want my life to look like in 5 years? In 3 years? In 2, or 1 year? And just write down everything that comes to mind. Here are some examples:

  • Live in a house with an ocean view
  • Successfully support myself working from home
  • Be 30 pounds lighter
  • Travel to Machu Picchu
  • Attend Wimbledon with 3rd Row seats
  • Be a published author

These are some of mine, off the top of my head. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get out all the big dreams that are covered in cobwebs, as well as the continuing goals you already have.

Now, look over your list. Pretend that this list is in the present. If your life is now everything you have on your list, how would you feel about it? If you aren’t dancing or jumping up and down or at least smiling, you need to add some bigger, better stuff to your list. If you are, then you are ready to take the first step to making it all reality.

Remember that there are various areas of your life that you may want to set goals in. These areas are:

  • Career/Financial – how you earn, spend and invest money
  • Social – your relationship with friends, family, community
  • Personal – your mental health, self-esteem, happiness
  • Intellectual – stimulating your mind, learning, trying new things
  • Physical – health, exercise, eating habits, medical care
  • Spiritual – your values, beliefs, life purpose

Let’s start by putting your list items into each of these categories. It is important to be happy and healthy in each area, as problems in your work, for example, can spill over and wreak havoc in your relationships or your health. All of these parts of your life are interdependent, so it is recommended to have goals in each of them.

Next, pick the most important items from your list and write them as goal statements. This means writing it in a way that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed (this is the SMART way to set goals). As an example, here are a couple of mine:

  • Have my finished Happiness eBook for sale on Amazon by March 30 (Career/Personal)
  • Lose 30 pounds by June 30 (Physical)
  • Save $100 or more each month in my Machu Picchu fund (Spiritual/Intellectual)

These are SMART goals. These are the statements you should write up and hang on your refrigerator, or computer and see them every day. They can still seem bigger than necessary to ensure your success. For instance, Lose 30 pounds by June 30 is a goal statement that meets all the SMART criteria, but it may make more sense to set mini-goals to reach it.

  • Walk/Gazelle for 20+ minutes 5 times each week
  • Eat 5-7 servings of fruits/vegetables each day
  • Have a protein shake each night at 8 pm- then brush teeth
  • Yoga stretch for 10 min in AM/PM 5 or more days/week

Now there are more specific goal steps which will make the larger goal easier to achieve. I know what to do, and I can keep track of when and how often I do them. Do this for any goals which will benefit from breaking it down into smaller, easier steps.

Use these goals and mini goals to keep track of your progress. You may want to reward yourself when you meet mini milestones along the way. This will do wonders for your confidence and motivation to keep going.

Lastly, having accountability to yourself and your success can make all the difference in the achievement of your important goals. The moment you commit to anything, the moment you believe you can do something, things in the world start to happen to help you along. But, you have to take a step, do something every day to make it happen. You are the winner, the beneficiary of the benefits of completing your goals, so make a promise to yourself that you are worth the time and energy required to enjoy the rewards waiting for you. You are also the one who loses out when you don’t reach your goal. How will you feel next year when you do this again, and have the same goals? Either they aren’t what you really want, or you do not think you deserve them.

And you’d better believe that you are capable and deserving of much more than you can even imagine. So, start today to make your ideal life your reality. Here’s to your massive success!


You, In Review

 

Here we are, at the end of another year. It’s the perfect time to take stock of what you’ve done, and not done over the last twelve months. Is this idea scary to you? Or fun?

Whichever way you look at it, it pays to take a look at what you’ve accomplished. It helps you see where you are on your path to your big goals. Now, if you don’t have those figured out yet, that’s OK. Most likely you still have ideas and plans rolling around in your head that you keep track of, right?

Today we will look at what you’ve done this past year, and next time we will go through the exciting process of setting your plans and goals for next year. Did you know that the act of putting ideas and goals down on paper gives them more power? It makes them more real to you, and subsequently makes you more committed to your successful accomplishment of them.

It’s alright if you feel less than thrilled with your success for this past year right now. By the time we’re done you will be able to pat yourself on the back for the work you have complete, so read on. It may also help you clarify what you want to tackle for next year.

First, let’s take a moment, and look at the areas of your life that you will want to review.

  • Career/Financial: This includes how you earn money, spend it, and invest it. It also covers how you feel about your work, or plans you may have to change careers or get a promotion. What were your financial goals, and which ones did you meet?
  • Social: This is all about your relationship to your friends, family and the community at large. What did you do to improve, or initiate relationships, or to help others? How also did you care for your surrounding environment?
  • Personal Growth: This covers your inward mental health; self-esteem, confidence, happiness, and the like. How did you work to improve yourself?
  • Intellectual: Stimulating your mind, learning new things, trying new things is part of this.  This is an important way to keep you young. What courses, activities, and books did you tackle to learn something new?
  • Physical: Here we include your eating habits, exercise, and medical care, everything that helps you keep your body healthy. What accomplishments do you have in this area?
  • Spiritual: This includes any work or clarifying of your values, beliefs or life purpose you may have done. Do you know how you fit in to the big picture of life, and what your gift is to the world? What have you done to explore or understand this?

Now let’s start reviewing these areas. If you have your goals you set for this year, or for the longer term, you may want to use them as a reference. If you don’t, that’s fine; you just may need to think a bit harder about what you’ve completed.

Take out a clean sheet of paper, or open a new word document. Label the top: My Accomplishments for the Year 20__. Next, start with the first category, Career/Financial, and just jot down everything you have done this year in this category. Nothing is too small- -paid off first credit card, saved up for a new computer, got a bonus at work. You get the idea. Only write down what you have actually done this year.

When you start to come up blank, move on to the next category until you have completed all six, Career, Social, Personal, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual. You can always come back to one whenever an idea pops into your mind. Don’t worry about putting your successes in the right category either. They are just guides to help you cover the major areas.

Give yourself as long as needed to pull out as much as you can. If you like, you may take out a highlighter and color up your results with the successes that you are MOST proud of.

There you have it. The year in review, based only on the positive steps you made. Are you surprised by how many there are? That happens a lot. If you want to remind yourself of how well you did, hang it on your refrigerator or by your computer- it will spur you on to do even more next year.

For next year, we will start with this accomplished list and set some new goals. It‘ll be fun. But first, do something to celebrate having a great year.

Well done, YOU!