If you read my blog regularly, you know I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I’m amending that. There are resolutions that are worthwhile and can work. I’m a big fan of planning, and the reason I didn’t like New Year’s Resolutions is that many of them are spur-of-the-moment. If you don’t mind a bit of planning and breaking down tasks into steps, resolutions work well.
For this article, I am using weight loss to represent any of your resolutions. Substitute your resolution, from getting more work for your freelance (more on that tomorrow) to creating better relationships.
Three success steps:
1. Make it specific. “I want to lose 3 pounds in a month” is specific. “I want to lose a lot of weight by summer” is not.
2. Make it achievable. “I want to lose 40 pounds in 4 months” is not achievable for most of us. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make it easily achievable, and you will be more likely to continue on the path of success.
3. Break it into steps. Even if you really want to lose 50 pounds, start with a way to lose 5 pounds. Write a list of things YOU can do to lose weight. Look for non-traditional ways that you enjoy. If you hate doing something, it takes a lot more willpower to achieve it.
Joining a gym might be great for your best friend, but you might want to take up line dancing, hiking, or another form of fun exercise. Make a list of interesting steps and decide the starting point of each.
You will need willpower. Your friends and family love you, but they don’t want you to change, because it forces them to change, too. They either have to change their image of you, or they have to change how they react to you. Both of those sound like work. So your friends and family will often not support or help you, while swearing they are trying to do just that.
They will load up your plate, give you excuses not to exercise, tell you you aren’t fat, tell you they like you the way you are. If you begin to fight with them and tell them they aren’t supporting you, the argument will shift to some non-topic, such as that you are getting cranky from dieting. There are lots of people who tell you to surround yourself with supportive friends, my idea is that you have to bring your own resolve and support, becuase you will fiind people with the best intentions trying to sabotage you. Tougher, I know.
Because this is not an article on dieting, but on planning resolutions, there are three more tips that help you get to your resolution:
1. Take stock once a week. Evaluate your progress, then re-set your goal. If you are ahead of your goal, go ahead and stay ambitious. If you didn’t make the goal, get real with the progress. Was it too much for the time span? Did you find you had to do more work to get to the goal than you thought? Giving yourself a reality check once a week helps you keep your goal and assess your own progress in real time.
2. Set a reward that suits the job. Making cold calls when you hate them? Give yourself a reward after you make a certain number. I once told myself I had to get five rejections to a proposal before I could quit calling that day. On the fourth try I struck success, and my first flash of thought was, “Damn! I have one more rejection to go before I can stop.”
3. Hire a coach. Full disclosure: I am a coach. I also have a coach, which is why I know that they work. A coach helps keep your eye on the goal, keeps you motivated and accountable. They help you when you stumble, don’t judge you, and are curious about your work. Pick a coach who works with your personality.
I do give free sample coaching sessions. They last 30 to 40 minutes and are not a demo, but a real coaching session. It’s a great way to see if coaching is for you and there is no pressure to continue. For more information contact me at QuinnCreative[at]Yahoo[dot]com
–QuinnMcDonald is a writer and life- and certified creativity coach. She coaches people in many countries, because her coaching is done over the phone.