The amazing thing about the future is that if you wait, it will always come to you. No doubt you sat down and created your share of New Year's resolutions to conquer this year. The unfortunate truth, however, is that most people's resolutions fizzle and die before the first quarter is even over. It doesn't have to be this way - with a few key steps, you can be well on your way to goal-getting instead of just goal-setting and turn your resolutions into real solutions.
Goals aren't enough - know your reasons
It's great to have goals, but by itself, a goal is not much. Have you ever shared with someone else that you would "try" to accomplish a goal? Try is a very weak word. When do you think you'll be ready to commit to actually doing it, instead of just talking about it?
The main reason most goals don't stick is because there is not a big enough reason to follow through with them. For example, losing weight is a great goal. However, why do you want to lose weight? See, if the goal is just "lose weight" then when that surprise birthday party happens, it's easy to talk yourself into letting loose and stuffing your face because that goal can be pushed aside, delayed, or even forgotten.
On the other hand, if your reason for losing fat is to avoid health problems or gain confidence, now you have a reason. That reason is your passion, your fire, your spark and your fuel to keep going. When you identify the true reason behind wanting to change, write it down. Keep it with you. Read it when you wake up, and before you go to sleep. Let your mind know what the reward will be, because most people focus on the process when it is the reward that keeps you going.
A real goal is about a vision. You must have a vision bigger than the obstacles you may face. Goals are stepping stones towards turning the vision from a dream into reality. Remember, goals are simply dreams with deadlines. So commit to your goal, know the reason, visualize the change, and it will stick with you despite the challenges you may face.
Hold Yourself Accountable
A goal is not much if you don't share it with others or create accountability. Without accountability, it's easy to make the goal simply disappear when things turn sour. Then you are simply a great goal-setter, but have nothing to show for the goal-getting department.
Accountability can take many different forms. If you're not ready to share it with the world, then simply write it down in a journal. Each day, spend five or ten minutes to reflect upon the steps you took that day that are taking you closer to your goal, and what choices you may have made that have you headed in the wrong direction. This will allow you to decide what changes you must make to keep moving closer to your goal.
For example, if your goal is to run your first triathlon, one of the daily actions you can take towards that goal is to eat healthy. This will fuel your body, improve recovery, and provide the nutrients necessary to have the energy to succeed. If you decided to blow your nutrition program, then this is a habit that is taking you farther from your goal. Identify it and decide what is more important - the short-term satisfaction of eating a treat, or the reward of finishing your first triathlon event. Stay in focus, and you'll go far.
Join the Right Team
Have you ever heard the phrase that your success is determined by the company you keep? Can you imagine how your life would be different if your circle of influence included those people who have already accomplished many of the goals you are setting for yourself?
Sometimes it can be difficult to lose your friends, but if your friends are not supporting your growth, they are holding you back. Trade them in for someone more positive who will keep you headed in the right direction. Author Napoleon Hill describes a group of like-minded people as a "mastermind group" where a true synergy is created - the results of the mastermind group become greater than the sum of the individual contributions. BeginnerTriathlete.com is a great place to connect with others who have similar goals to your own. Plug into your mastermind group!
Follow the Right Coach
Last but not least, it is important to have a good coach.
Have you ever stopped to really think about successful people? People who are top athletes, or business executives, or great piano players, for example. What most of these people have in common is that they did not learn everything on their own - they had teachers and coaches. In fact, I don't know any successful business people, athletes, or simply those who are in great shape who don't have coaches. I have coaches for fitness, coaches for business, and coaches for my personal life ("life coaches").
A good coach will empower you to achieve your goals. They do this by helping you avoid the mistakes they've already made, or already witnessed their other clients make. You also benefit from their knowledge and experience without having to go through the entire process yourself. A quality coach will have a background in the area you are trying to improve, solid references, and will offer time to connect with you before you make a coaching commitment. This will allow you to decide if there is a fit to move forward and conquer your dreams together this year.
It's great to make New Year's resolutions, but do yourself a favor. Self-esteem is related to self-promises. When you break a promise to yourself, you lose a bit of your confidence and self-esteem. When you keep a promise, you gain confidence. Don't commit to a resolution you are not ready to achieve. Don't let your goals simply remain words on paper. Create a plan for success, tackle the areas we discussed and your New Year's resolutions will truly stick this year.