Another year is here and it feels like without warning, we’re already off and running. I am afraid to blink! That it might be Thanksgiving when I open my eyes… With the calendar days already ticking off, I am hastily trying to gather my thoughts on how to make and, more importantly, how to keep my New Year’s Resolutions.
This year, I’m making smarter commitments. Here’s how:
1. Stop resolving and start committing.
Rather than making goals or resolutions that leave room for acceptable failure, make a commitment to yourself. Think about the different connotation that simple word makes: making goals always seems easy because we tend to forgive ourselves if we don’t reach them. Commitments are harder to make because of the fear of failure, because breaking a commitment is wrong. In fact, I joke with my clients that there’s no way they’d go through with wedding vows that included the phrase, “I’ll make it my goal to be faithful to you.” Why? Because making a goal says you’re okay if you don’t reach it. So this year, don’t leave room for not reaching your desires, commit.
2. Be specific instead of intangible.
“I’m going to learn to play the piano.” What does that even mean? How do you define when you’ve reached this goal? Is it knowing how to read sheet music? Or is it memorizing “Chopsticks?” Or is it something else? Each of us has a different understanding or interpretation of what it means to know how to play the piano. Be very specific and tangible when making your commitments so that you know and can measure when you’ve actually accomplished something on your list.
3. Make an action list.
Once you have an idea in mind, you’ll need to make a list of actions and items required to accomplish your goal. Take the piano commitment, for example: what do you need to own or have access to if you’re going to learn to play the piano? Maybe a piano, lessons, exercises? Make a list. Then you’ll have actual, tangible tasks and steps to complete.
4. Make a timeline or schedule. Track your progress.
Successful marathon runners don’t wing it. They have detailed schedules that detail their run lengths, times, nutrition, hydration, and strength training daily leading up to the big race day. That’s because breaking things down into manageable portions works. Preventing your brain from becoming overwhelmed by some daunting, intangible goal, making a practice schedule or timeline for items on your action list is a must. From calling arts studios for access to pianos to setting a date on which you’ll download the learn piano app, each task is do-able and gets you closer to achievement. And don’t forget to track your progress. Whether you put smiley face stickers on your calendar for every day you practice or you use an app like this one, tracking is a great way to make sure you’re following through, and allows you to “snap-to” when you notice a week has gone by without a sticker!
5. Visualize yourself reaching your commitment.
What will you look like when you’re tinkling the ivories at your family Christmas party? What will you be wearing, whose piano are you playing, who else is there? Recreating the moment in your mind’s eye allows you to bust through any doubts of whether your desires are realistic. These day dreams can even help you make the items on your action list (if your version of knowing how to play the piano means playing in long white gloves, you’d better make sure you own a pair)!
6. Don’t do it alone.
You know that writing your “goals” down is always the first step to achieving them. Studies have proven this time and again. Studies have also proven that creating the proper support and accountability system is often what makes or breaks someone’s success when the going gets tough. So don’t do it alone. Tell your friends, your family, your nutrition counselor what your desires are for 2016 and allow them to help keep you accountable.
Here at TNT, we make it our commitment to ensure our clients have the support and accountability they need to reach and exceed their own commitments. We’re here to help you define and achieve your optimal health and sports performance goals, so give us a call today: 704-549-9550. See you soon!