Introduction: RESOLUTION FAILURE 101
Well it's February and I bet by now you have already forgotten about that Resolution that you wrote to yourself for the new year, Am I Right? It is that time of year again when we all say to ourselves, this year I'm going to...day's later we even forget that we told ourselves that. It seems to happen year after year. We set a resolution and then we just say oh it's too hard. Oh I completely forgot or I just did not have the ambition to do it. There has to be an easier way to stay on track right? Well I think I may have found it. I have been doing this for the past 3 years and so far really every single goal I made I have achieved. I won't get into the fine details of what my goals were. I'm really not here to talk about me...ok that would be a lie. But lets just imagine for a minute if you really could get the goals you made to yourself done. Where would that put you in the game of life? What would be the number one goal you want to achieve this year.
Most people fail at resolutions it is a proven fact. Why do we fail? The number one reason we fail is because we set too high of a goal. One that can not be reached without some sort of divine intervention and when that divine intervention does not come we give up quicker than you can say "RESOLUTION."
In order to achieve a goal we must first really define it. The problem is we write down what we want to do and then have no real purpose for it. We don't really know what the goal is defined as or what it entails. How we are going to get there and even how to execute it. I think I have really found a way to help you out with that. I have been coming up with these ideas for a few years now so in the following pages is my CREATIVE MASTER PLAN. Now granted it won't work for everyone but if you really take the time and go through the steps I have outlined at least you can say without a doubt in you mind that you gave it a shot.
Step 1: Write Down Your GOAL(S)
First off lets quit calling them resolutions, resolutions are just a glorified way of saying goal. People usually hear the word resolution and immediately think FAIL. It's not that you mean to fail it's that you think it somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind, in your mind you have already set yourself up for failure. Makes you wonder why we even started in the first place right?
Take for example an elite athlete that has a goal to play in the big leagues, you may think to yourself that he just has the talent. That it was some sort of divine nature that gave him his abilities. Not the case, the athlete became talented, he worked for years to hone that talent. He spent days, months and years getting it perfected before he was ever picked up by an interested party to his talents. The point is he had a goal. No matter how long it took he was going to meet those goals. With the help of divine nature thrown in his talents took him to unexpected levels of success.
A difference between a goal and a resolution is that resolutions have a time table for completing them associated with it, whereas a goal can be any length of time. A few months to many years. Take for example that you want to pay for your home, pay your mortgage off and live the good life without debt. Well we know that most mortgages are at least 30 years so that goal, no matter how simple will be met if you make your payments on time every single month.
So this first step of writing down a goal is just that a step. it's where you picture yourself being, it's where you want to be when you hone your skills necessary to accomplish the goal. But first simply writing down what you goal is, is the first step. You don't have to worry if your goal is way out there or not just write it down in a simple sentence.
Writing down a goal that say's I want to be a millionaire is not a feasible goal. You'll probably make more than a million dollars in your lifetime if we are lucky but very few of us will ever see that one million dollars in our bank account. Concentrate on goals that can be achieved in "simple" form. Think of it this way if I wanted to accomplish one thing in the next six months or the next six years what would it be? You are thinking of the future, not tomorrow. If you wanted to know what you were going to do 12 hours from tonight you would already know the answer. Get up, get the kids off to school have some breakfast. You get the idea.
Goals are not confined to time, they are realized over many years or they may be short term, whatever your goal is you must first identify it and then break it down to what steps you must do in order to achieve it.
Step 2: Keep It SMART!
SMART is better. Every goal should follow a SMART approach. Look at smart goals like this
T ime Oriented
So now if you have written down your goal take it and look at the above approach to goals. Is your Goal SIMPLE? Every goal should be METHODICAL. Each goal should be ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC and TIME ORIENTED. Can the goal you wrote down accomplish the SMART approach? If it cant, if your stuck on even one aspect and cant get past it. The goal will not work, throw it out and start over. Everything you do should be driven to accomplish the goal you wrote down.
Is your goal simple? can you beyond a reasonable doubt meet the standard of the SMART approach? Lets look at this another way. Instead of saying my goal is to lose weight, how about instead of such a generalized goal we say something like this: I want to lose ten pounds in 3 months, I will start in January and go until April 1st. To anyone this meets several conditions of the SMART approach. First it is pretty simple and only requires a 3.33 pound loss each month for three months. Its Methodical because it allows you three months in which to do so. It's attainable because studies have shown that our weight usually fluctuates week to week and month to month by roughly 4 pounds or more. It's realistic because you are not trying to over compensate what your body can do and it is time oriented because it ends on April 1st.
Here is another example: Instead of I want to quit smoking as a goal, try this. I want to reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke per day by 4. Do you realize that if you simply did this goal you would reduce your consumption of cigarettes by almost a pack and a half each week? that's a complete breakthrough and it is an accomplishment in itself. To a non smoker this may not seem like a big deal, but take it from a smoker who does this is huge. Since this is an ongoing goal for however long the time oriented portion of the SMART plan should be for at least a month or two or three and then a new goal takes it place instead of just 4 per day now do six per day etc etc. until you have slowly and methodically quit smoking all together. Take it from someone who knows quitting smoking cold turkey is virtually impossible.
Another Example: I want to save for a family vacation to Disneyland. This may seem a pretty direct and simple goal it meets some of the standards set forth in the SMART approach but it's missing essential parts to be complete. When you realize that a family vacation to Disneyland can cost is excess of 3500.00 it's hard to put a timeline on what you can realistically try to save, especially if money is tight. In this instance the goal should be set a little lower as to say for example: I want to save enough money over the next six months to do something fun and exciting with the family, A sort of family mini vacation we will all enjoy. now obviously no monetary amount is set, so the goal is wide open on what to do with the money and what you can afford to do with the money once you have saved enough to do so. The time oriented section is six months. Point is even if it is a night out for pizza and a movie you have accomplished the attainable goal you set out to do.
Step 3: GROW With It
Now your thinking that making Goals is just not as simple as what you thought right? It's something to have goals but is a whole other process to actually do it and have it execute perfectly. This is where we find ourselves failing. Growing with your goal is as equally important otherwise how would you ever accomplish the goal you wrote? If you took the time to actually complete the process of the SMART section than you can surely complete this as well. What do you have to lose? LOOK AT THE GROW PROCESS LIKE THIS
R ealizing it's possible
O wning your past failures
W ay forward
Goals are like dreams we have, every single one of them can be realized. Realizing the possibility of them becoming reality is something that hits hard it may serve to be emotional or triumphant. Owning every goal and every resolution you have ever failed at contributes to this one goal you are doing right now. Owning your past and admitting your failure is a part of the process. It's what makes this goal more attainable than any other goal you have ever written down. Now instead of focusing on failure its time to focus on your WAY FORWARD>
What are you going to do each day to make your goal come to fruition? What are you going to do to execute this goal and keep it on your mind on a daily basis? THINK BIG get yourself a white board and hang it somewhere where your forced to read it everyday.
Step 4: GROW SMART
Using a grow smart approach to goals is using a definitive way forward. It really makes you take a step back and instead of being generalized and unattainable it guides you on your journey to achievement and implementation. Knowing what is simply a dream and what is a goal is your first step. To me that is what resolutions are...just dreams we say to ourselves that would somehow make our entire life better. But lets get REAL here there is no magical unicorn that's going to come around and grant you three wishes for touching it's horn. Only you are capable of achieving the things in life that you want to achieve.
Now, I am not saying that you'll succeed, some of the goals we place upon ourselves are indeed failures. But if you rework the goal maybe you will find that success you were looking for. Sometimes you may have to work and rework the goal to get the result you want. That is really a goal and a success in it's own right. You are still working the original goal just with different achievements along the way.
Keep yourself focused, think of yourself as a star athlete hitting it big! The more confidence you have the better chance at success. There is no right or wrong, there is only what you can do in the time you have. So who cares if you got too busy one day to really focus on the goal you wrote down? Only you, right?