Monday, January 9, 2012

Perhaps Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

I recently read the latest version of Men's Health magazine, and came across a line by John Brant and Ben Court (on page 106):

"The difference between a goal and a daydream is whether you take action to achieve it."

This line hit me like a ton of bricks. Because it was the New Year, my mind was turning to Resolutions. A little research found the same number coming up, however. 80% of resolutions fail by February. 80%! It made me wonder why?

Honestly, I think the answer is the quote above. Too often we make Resolutions (goals, whatever) and write them down (maybe) only to be stuffed into a drawer and forgotten. Then what happens? The Resolutions are abandoned for the habits that we formed to get where we were. SCARY!

So, how do you combat this. First, I wouldn't call anything a New Year's Resolution anymore. There is too much bad connotations, and the public's willingness to accept you can fail at them. Instead, set goals, but don't associate them with a new year.

Okay, got your goals? Now, when do you want to achieve them? You need to provide a deadline. Without providing a deadline, all you are doing is stating an open-ended wish. A DAYDREAM. When will you deliver?

Third, plan out how you will make this date. If you want to hit the gym 3-5 days a week, plan out when you will go, and for how long. Build it into your schedule, and set a reminder so that your phone will buzz when it's time. If you want to get a certification, plan out when you will study, and again, set the reminder. These are the Baby Steps (one of my Toastmaster's Speeches, I will need to share sometime) necessary to reach the bigger goals.

Finally, you need to execute the plan. Up until this time, you were creating the plan. You were CONCEIVING. It has it's own plan now, it has almost a life of it's own; but now you need the COMMAND over yourself to execute. After all, the difference is action.

Now, I will let you in on one of my goals. Many of you who read this know I am in Toastmasters. I am currently an Advanced Communicator Bronze and an Advanced Leader Bronze. My goal this year is to reach Distinguished Toastmaster by the end of the year. That will require roughly 15 more speeches, a High Profile Leadership Program, and the completion of my current duties as an Area Governor. My drop dead date? 26 September 2012 (my birthday). Wish me luck and hopefully it won't be a daydream for me!

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