December 12, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. Time to think about making New Year’s resolutions. How did you do in 2007? If you kept them, congratulations, for you are now a better person because of them.

Now let's making some resolutions for 2008. And here are some tips to help us carry out our resolutions.

If we make a resolution, we are resolving to do something we are not yet doing. Why aren’t we doing it? There must be reasons. It may be difficult to do, involve some efforts we have to make, or sacrifices we have to carry out. So, expect resistance. Prepare for it. Accept the short-term pain for the long-term gain. After sticking to our resolution for a month or two, it will become a habit and much easier to carry out. So, it will no longer be a matter of working harder, but of developing good habits which will propel you forward. Keep your eyes on the goal and anticipate the success that is yours.

Don’t become unrealistically ambitious. True, it may be great to improve your golf game, lose weight, hang out more with your friends, take a computer course to improve your productivity, learn ballroom dancing, make a rec room in the basement, and design a flower garden for your backyard. But wait a minute! Do you have the time? Don’t engage in wishful thinking. Instead schedule each activity so you know exactly how much time is available. And don’t forget to include extra time for emergencies.

A powerful technique. At the same time you make your New Year’s resolutions, change your routine. For instance, take a different route to work, have lunch at another place, open the door to your office with your left instead of your right hand, and so on. Why do so? Because each time you act out of character, you are forcing yourself to remember that you are living in a new way. It is easy to change your routine, and the changes will act as powerful cues, reminding you that you have resolutions to follow.

Make your goals as specific as possible. Don’t say, “I’m going to lose some weight” but say “I'm going to lose 10 lb. by June 30, 2008 by drinking more water, cutting out junk food, eating balanced meals, and exercising.”

Monitor your progress weekly. What are you doing right? Keep doing it! What are you doing wrong? What is the cause of the problem? How can you correct it? Also, set milestones. For example, if you’re going to lose 10 lb. by the end of May, that works out to 2 lb. per month. Confirm you standing every month. By keeping a watchful eye on your progress, you’ll be able to make corrections as you go along.

Do it for yourself. Don’t be pressured into anything. Remember, to succeed, your plan must be a passionate one. How can you be passionate about something you don’t want to do? Decide on what you WANT from life and focus on those goals. Granted, there may be things you should be doing, but don’t want to. That’s fine; it simply means you’re a human being. The good news is that as we accomplish goals we WANT, we develop self-discipline. In other words, you’ll have the strength to work on bigger goals later.

Patience. Because we cannot accomplish everything at once, we need patience, focus, and persistence. As we monitor our progress and see the progress we are making, no matter how small, it will be enough to motivate us to continue. If you come across bumps in the road, don’t be discouraged. Just pick yourself up and continue. How can you develop your skills if it’s smooth sailing all the way? You need to experience a few storms before you can become the Captain of your ship.

That's all. Happy New Year!

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