About forty percent of all Americans will vow to change one thing or another about themselves this New Year. Often these goals and resolutions are never met. In fact, sixty percent of all individuals will have completely forgotten about the resolutions they have made within six months.
New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories:
• Weight loss
• Personal development
• Health and diet
• Stress management
• Focusing on personal relationships
Carrying out your resolutions and goals can be accomplished. Read on to find out how.
1. Define your Motivation
There are 2 types of motivation: • Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, U prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself. The motivation for follow through comes from within and U are comfortable and motivated to accomplish your goal without the assistance of anyone but yourself. Just doing and participating is reward enough.
• Extrinsic – you’re motivated by actions outside your personal scope. The reward system is external. Accomplishing the goal may be more difficult without having someone by your side you help motivate U. U may also find U are in need of an external motivator such as a reward when you achieve your goal.
Once U figure out your motivation type, then all U have to do is put yourself in situations that make U more comfortable and excited to accomplish your goals.
2. Actions speak louder than results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. However, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that are sometimes trickier. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals to make them more manageable.
Finally, each time you achieve a step towards your goal, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide U as you push towards your goal and commit to your responsibilities.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your goal setting and steps towards reaching your golas are S.M.A.R.T.:
• Specific – having a specific end result prevents you from making excuses. • Measurable – evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost. • Achievable – U can set daily goals as a building block to bigger goals. • Relevant – if it’s not relevant, why bother? • Time-bound – goals need to have a defined end date.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a 5-day workout week, go for twenty minutes each day then increase gradually.
You’ll find, as with all goals, as soon as U start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more. However, it’s crucial that U stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small, as U move towards reaching your resolution.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. Make a list, prioritize them, and go from there. Once U feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts, helping U reach your target faster.
4. Think things through
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals. However, let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if U get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or U can workout at home, as you catch up on your favorite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip obstacles in the bud before they becomes stronger than your willpower so that U can surmount any roadblock that comes between U and your goal.
5. Be accountable for your actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when U have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group to insure commitment and follow through towards meeting your goals. By enlisting the help of someone else, you are not only accountable to yourself but to another person.
Hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so U can keep tabs how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution may seem difficult to accomplish. However, applying these 5 steps, U will be more apt to stick to your goals. Once U accomplish your first resolution, you’ll be more apt to continue to set new goals for yourself and move towards balance and fulfillment.
“You are not creating a new you; you are releasing a hidden you. The process is one of self-discovery. The hidden you that wants to emerge is in perfect balance.” -Deepak Chopra, MD.
“If you are not where you want to be, do not quit, instead reinvent yourself and change your habits.” – Eric Thomas
When U look at a certain object, a photography for example – U won’t be able to appreciate everything the artist has put into the photograph, appreciate it for what it truly is or see the photo as a whole if the picture is only an inch away from your face. You’ll have a clearer vision of the art work and see what the artist intended to create, once you have gotten outside of your own head and examine the photograph as a whole.
In life, until U reach a point when U are ready for change, an opportunity for change can be staring U right in the face but you won’t see it. As humans, we often wait for our lives to get better on their own when, typically, our lives will only get worse without any intervention on our part.
Years ago, I worked for a company whose management style was, what I like to refer to as, “management by crisis”. Nothing was ever done about issues the companies faced until the problems reached crisis proportions. Then and only then did the company take action and, often, the end result fell short of completely repairing or solving the problems at hand. As a result, employees were negative and the work atmosphere wasn’t pleasant. No one wanted to be at work – management or staff. Once employee morale caved so did work productivity which only led to additional company problems and dissatisfaction as a whole.
It’s sad to say but we often employ the same life management tools; we don’t begin the repair process until the situation smacks us in the face and we find ourselves in crisis mode. We finally begin to see the warning signs and signals once things become difficult and we are miserable. The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart around us. We behave this way because change isn’t easy and settling for mediocrity, even if we are unhappy and unfulfilled, is so much simpler.
Unfortunately, change becomes even more painful when we ignore it…take the frog principle for example:
Place Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment – the water’s temperature. Place Frog B in luke warm water, then turn the gas stove on. Wait until the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks “Ooh… it’s a bit warm in here. Time to move”.
People are like Frog B in general. Often we don’t feel the need to engage in change and self improvement as long as things don’t get too hot. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life – and we will need to unlock our self improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realize it’s for our own good.
Now, you don’t have to feel tremendous heat before realizing the need for self improvement. Unlocking your self improvement power means unlocking yourself from the cage of thought that “its just the way I am” and “I don’t have a choice in life”. Of course these thoughts are just excuses used when we fear and resist change. In actuality, we have the potential to be whatever we wish to be. However, to realize our full potential we must fully participate in the process. It will require effort, tenacity, and our willingness to fail again and again.
Self improvement may not be everybody’s favorite word nor will it come easily. Change will happen, like it or hate it. Still, if we approach change willingly and with a happy heart, we will have a greater chance of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days hoping for improvement to land squarely in our lap.
“Standing on the fringes of life… offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
At the precipice of success is failure…your choices keep U from slipping off the edge.
Everything that happens to U happens for a purpose. Sometimes it is difficult to see the positives when, seemingly, one negative thing after another occurs and soon the molehill becomes a mountain. Often, this leads to inaction and focus on the negative. Instead of locking yourself up in your cage of fears and focusing on past heartaches, embarrassment and failures, treat them as your teachers and they will become your tools in both self improvement and success.
I remember watching the movie, Patch Adams. Hunter “Patch” Adams is a medical student who failed to make it through his board exams. After months of suffering in melancholy, depression and suicidal attempts – he decides to seek medical attention and voluntarily admits himself in a psychiatric ward. His months of stay in the hospital leads him to finding ways of treating his own ailments. Eventually, he realizes he has to get back on track. One morning he decides, even after all the failure and pains he has gone through, he still wants to become a doctor. He follows through with his dream and brings with him his positive attitude which leads him to self improvement and success. The best part about his journey is he not only improves himself, but he also improves the quality of life of his patients and others.
So, when does self improvement become synonymous with success? Where do U start? Try these tips…
Stop thinking and feeling as if you’re a failure, because you’re not. How can others accept U if U can’t accept U?
Stop focusing on your outward appearance as an indicator of self-acceptance. Self acceptance is not just about having nice slender legs, or great abs. Concentrate on your inner beauty and what you are able to offer the world.
When others are feeling down and in despair, help them elevate themselves. Don’t go down with them. They’ll pull U down further and both of U will end up feeling inferior.
Understand, your time on earth is simply a series of lessons. U have a choice, U can focus on your failures or your successes. However, there is no need to wallow in your failures and focus on the negative. There’s always a next time. Make room in your life for success and continually strive towards self improvement. Always continue to move forward whatever your circumstances.
Take one thing at a time. Change doesn’t happen in a single moment, it is a progression; a series of events and happenings. Self improvement is a “one day at a time” process. Always remember that there’s no such thing as ‘overnight success’. Practice, practice, practice!
Celebrate and appreciate your daily successes and victories. It is all too easy to believe U haven’t made any progress when, in fact, U have had many successes along your self-improvement journey.
Self improvement results in inner stability, personality development and dig this …. SUCCESS. U will improve yourself when U become more self confident, appreciate yourself and others. Your self esteem will flourish when U believe in you and your abilities and actions.
Set meaningful and achievable goals. Your hopes and aims and consistent action to make your dreams a reality will result in an improved and better U.
Doing little things for others can mean so much to them. Sometimes, we don’t realize that the little things such as smiling and saying “hello”, greeting someone “good day” or giving someone else a compliment, are simple things that mean so much to others. When U are being appreciative of your environment and other people, U also improve your own sense of self worth and your outlook on life which positively influences how successful we feel in life.
When you’re willing to accept change and go through the process of self improvement, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is on board. Accept and be aware that others may wish to impose their own sense of what they want for U. Ultimately, recognize that U need to choose what U want for your life.
Remind yourself about your specific goals on a daily basis.
Keep this quote in mind: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Be willing to open yourself up to improving yourself and your responses to life circumstances. Introspection, self-reflection and being honest with yourself are necessary for self-improvement and will help U move towards your definition of success. If U are willing to be honest with yourself and make the necessary changes, U will increase your chances of reaching your full potential. Keep going until your goals are your new reality (the changed you).
“We do not get to choose how we start out in life. We do not get to choose the day we are born or the family we are born into, what we are named at birth, what country we are born in, and we do not get to choose our ancestry. All these things are predetermined by a higher power. By the time you are old enough to start making decisions for yourself, a lot of things in your life are already in place. It’s important, therefore, that you focus on the future, the only thing that you can change.” ― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability