2 Steps To Nail Your 2016 Resolutions

2 Steps To Nail Your 2016 Resolutions

It’s the first day of a new year, and roughly half the population is going to make some kind of resolution to make a change in their life this year. I wrote earlier this week about how to unsuck your resolutions, this article is about the trickiest part of that process.

One of the things I touched on before was the need for a serious and substantial reason for that goal – something meaningful enough to keep your eye on the target, even when circumstances and outside forces are conspiring to knock you off course. I sincerely believe that if you don’t have a big enough reason why you want to achieve a goal then you’ve got very little chance you’ll get there.

Here’s 2 Steps To Nail Your 2016 Resolutions:

  1. Sit down with a pad and paper (yes, a pad and paper, there is some pretty good research out there that says there’s a special interaction between the physical act of writing stuff down that triggers our brains to engage fully with the thoughts we’re putting on the page – and yes, it’s different from the process we go through tapping out notes on a keyboard, so do it). Now write down the stuff you are contemplating changing. Maybe you want to start a daily exercise routine, or eat more veggies, or lose a certain amount of weight. Maybe you want to put a bigger portion of your income into savings. Maybe you want to learn a new language or a new skill.
  2. Now, take that list of stuff you want to change this year and set it to one side and start with a clean sheet of paper. Write a parallel list of what things are likely to happen if you don’t change these things. For instance, if you start that daily exercise program, what is likely to happen to your body? What happens if you don’t save money more consistently? What does your life look like on this day in 2017 if you don’t start learning that new language or skill?

For that second step, really flesh it out. You’re smart. You know how things work. What happens to you if you just keep doing what you’ve been doing? Who will you be on January 1, 2017.

Now, the hard part – try to see how you feel about that person. Are you ok with being him/her? Does it make you sad? Are you disappointed in your potential future self?

If you pick a goal that won’t matter, won’t make a difference in your life, that’s probably not a worthy goal. You can tell yourself you need to lose weight, or improve your health, but if, at the end of a year of not doing anything, getting fatter, less fit and less healthy you’re actually fine with the outcome, then you’re probably not going to do the work, will you?

You can should all over yourself, but should doesn’t matter. I know, for instance, I need to consistently get 7 hours of sleep a night. I should do it. But I don’t, and I’ve realized by doing this exercise that the potential consequences of not doing it haven’t been clear enough to me to take me from should do it to actively wanting to do it. 

I dumped a third of my body weight and kept it off because not only was the a big, huge should involved, but because I actually don’t want to have a heart attack or high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes – all things I was headed toward. The person I saw at the end of a year of doing nothing was a fatter, sicker person who spent a lot more time with doctors than I was comfortable with. 

If you know why you need to get somewhere, figuring out the path becomes a lot easier.

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