To make any dream a reality, we need to follow three key steps.
1. Set the goal. There must be something important we want to achieve that is different from what we have now. It starts with a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a vision of how we would like things to be. In the case of a New Year’s Resolution to “eat better and exercise more”, this desire may be driven by the fact we are not currently feeling as fit or healthy as we would like. We imagine ourselves feeling more healthy and looking better. These dreams of better things to come and dissatisfaction with the present is a good thing, so long as we can actually influence the end result. This is how we learn new things and make progress in our lives.
2. Create a plan. A dream without a plan is a wish. Often we are very high on the motivation scale to change, but have not defined any tangible next steps to get us closer to achieving our goals. Our plans may change as we go along, but without a plan we have no reference point around to make any changes and so when obstacles happen, we tend to give up, rather than being able to adjust the plans. Plans don’t have to be detailed but they should include a very definite first milestone and how you are going to measure it. In the case of an exercise program our resolution may include achieving a particular recovery heart rate or body measurement, by a particular date.
3. Do something. Actions turn plans into reality. Procrastination is usually the killer for us. Tomorrow we will start exercising…and of course, tomorrow never comes. Putting a specific action into your diary, at a specific time, is a good way to force yourself into action. You may resolve to scheduled time at 6am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to go for a run, and you should follow it religiously for at least a month. After a while, the activity becomes a habit and you can move onto planning your next goal.
So whether your New Year’s Resolution is personal or work related, break the habit of defining the dream without a plan coupled with some concrete actions.
Happy New Year!
May 2014 be full of new learnings and experiences and remember the serenity prayer:
Accept the things I cannot change,
change the things I can,
And have the wisdom to know the difference