Happy New Year! Here’s to a productive and successful year where all the things on your to-do list end up in your ‘done pile.’ Talking about to do lists, I’m sure you made some resolutions or set some goals for the year. Trying to get a jumpstart on making resolutions stick; I started doing research in November so I won’t quit before January came to an end. Below are some tips I gathered and have been using. So far, I have completed over 30 days of daily exercise and achieved an almost perfect score on sugar abstention. Use these for a productive 2014:
1. Don’t ask why you are the way you are or things are as they are. This is an endless query that does not motivate change. Instead, ask what you will do differently. Set concrete, measurable goals and then move forward.
2. Expect to slip sometimes because old habits die hard. When stress comes, we are more likely to revert to our old patterns of behavior than to keep forging ahead with our new resolutions. So expect to slip up, and when you do, forgive yourself and start over. Don’t rationalize that since you ate that first cookie that broke your diet, you should eat 10. Stop! Don’t overdramatize a slip up. Instead, dust yourself off and continue with your new healthy living.
3. Find your motivation. What keeps you in the game? Do you prefer small goals that give you a sense of accomplishment after each is done or a gigantic goal that keeps you striving till you succeed? Regardless of what motivates you, the main thing is that you are motivated. So design your own method of motivation.
4. Visualize your success. Affirm your progress. See it in your mind’s eye and broadcast it with your mouth. Muhammad Ali told the world, “I am the greatest!” even when he was a rookie boxer. In time, we all came to agree with him. Don’t complain that you’ll never change. Instead, celebrate every progress you make – great or small.
5. Welcome the tedium of routine. Without consistency, you will not make it. It is what you do day after day, month after month that makes the difference not the once in a while brain surge of doing right. The pounds will not come off in one day but they will if you consistently eat right and workout.
6. Enlist the help of others whether physical or virtual. Find people who can support your new path – a coach, a friend, a family member who will kindly remind you to stick to your resolution.
7. Have alternative plans. If Plan A fails, what do you do next? For example, you plan to hire a clerk by the 15th and you don’t find the right candidate? Do you pile on the work? Or hire a temp? Don’t let your excuses or even legitimate hiccups derail your progress this year. Be creative with alternative solutions. Have plan a, b, c, d, etc.
8. Provide yourself with incentives and rewards. After you finish your manuscript, buy yourself a new laptop or perhaps a cappuccino. Whatever works, cheers.
For more strategies, download the free ebook, This Year I will: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True by M. J. Ryan or watch Al Switzler at TEDTalks “Change Anything! Use Skillpower over willpower.”