It’s that time of the year when goals and New Years resolutions hit center stage. Every self-help guru has come up with his or her own magic formula for success. Most will at least cover the following basics.
1. Write you goal down
2. Make it a measureable goal
3. Give it a timeline, usually within one year
If your like the vast majority of people who make New Years resolutions you probably started the past year enthused and dedicated with every intention of success but after a few weeks or perhaps a month you found yourself slipping and by the end of the first quarter your goal became a distant memory. How do you make this year different?
First, you need to accept there are no short cuts to achieving your goals. Whether you want to lose weight, get in better shape, transition to a new job or any of the other common New Year resolutions what it always comes down to is discipline. There’s nothing glamorous about self-discipline, but it is really one of the key ingredients to success in life. Unfortunately, discipline is not talked about or discussed very much these days. We’ve been programmed to look for easy ways to get rich quick, or lose weight fast. These shortcuts appeal to the masses and as a result “experts” write books and record audio CD’s on the next fad guaranteed to get you results with very little effort. Stephen Covey writes about the “Character Ethic” He states that the first 150 years of our country all the writings emphasized, honor, justice, discipline, integrity, courage…character traits that take time and a concerted effort to develop. The last 50 years has been about the “Personality Ethic”, shortcuts that are meant to get instant results. We’ve come to expect goals and achievement to come easy. The truth is the most fulfilling moments in our lives are those moments when we had to work extremely hard, experienced failure, overcame obstacles and finally met with success.
A better way at looking at goals and New Years resolutions is not just how can I achieve my goal, but how do I achieve and sustain my goal. It’s sort of like the mountain climber who says I want to reach the summit. Often times, the climber expends every ounce of energy to get to the top and forgets he needs to get back down! (Most deaths on Everest occur on the descent) Reaching the top or achieving your goal doesn’t do much good if you can’t get back home or your unable to sustain your weight loss, physical fitness etc.
A goal should be a form of self-motivation; it helps you make the changes necessary to bring you success and fulfillment. The goal provides a new heading, or direction and a new course is set. It’s now up to you to develop a plan or strategy to not only reach your goal but also sustain it for the long term. Better yet, consider the goal a stepping-stone toward your potential. If you find your self-discipline waning try sharing your goal with a friend or loved one who can assist you in staying on course. Having a work out buddy or a loved one that encourages you while trying to lose weight can help during moments of weakness. Self-discipline is often what separates the achievers from the middle of the pack. If you want to make this years New Years Resolution a success get ready for a fight. Begin a positive self-talk strategy daily to help reinforce the discipline required to not only achieve your goal but to make a lasting life style change.