My Google Reader was flooded this morning with blog posts about new years resolutions, how to build a better business in 2013, and so on. I promised myself that I would not add to the noise but, alas, here I am. Good thing I didn’t make it a New Year’s resolution, eh? Anyway, I wanted to address an issue that is fairly common this time of year: how to keep one’s commitments. The new year often brings much resolve but very little follow-through. So, how do we keep our promises to ourselves? And why are we always so bad at it? Let’s discuss…
Anthony Iannarino mentioned a picture like the one above in his weekly newsletter yesterday. He talked about how so many people fail to make good on their new year’s resolutions. Why do they do so? A lack of discipline. Anthony suggests making daily, weekly, and monthly discipline lists. If you are consistent in completing the times on your list, the new years resolutions will take care of themselves.
A couple of days ago, Dan Waldschmidt wrote a fantastic blog post called, “Forget About Resolutions. Make a Plan.” According to Dan, people fail to keep their new year’s resolutions precisely because they are making resolutions. “Your resolution,” he says, ” is just wishful thinking.” Instead, Dan suggests making a plan. Don’t promise yourself that you’re going to accomplish your goals. Give yourself a roadmap that tells you how you’re going to do it.
- Make a goal.
- Create a strategy on how to accomplish the goal.
- State your rationale for using said strategy.
- Decide what you’re specific next step will be within the context of your strategy.
Focus on Activities; Not on Results
All of the above pieces of advice, I believe, revolve around one concept: focusing on what you’re going to do instead of what you want to accomplish. In other words, don’t tell yourself that you’re going to do something; tell yourself how you’re going to do it (Tweet this).
Here’s the thing. This might be hard for you to hear, but it has got to be said. You cannot control results. You can control you’re activities, but you cannot control where they lead. Yes, you can influence the outcome; but you cannot guarantee it. If you have a solid, evidence-based reasons for engaging in an activity, you can even increase the probability of that activity leading to the outcome you desire. But, still, you only have complete control over the inputs; not the outputs.
The reason people fail to keep their new year’s resolutions is that they focus on the results they want rather than on the activities they need to take in order to get them. Your goals for 2013 should be based on things that you actually have control over. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
|I will lose 20 pounds||I will eat few than 2,000 calories per day|
|I will increase my website sales leads by 20%||I will launch my e-newsletter and write once each week|
|I will make my significant other happy||I will designate one night each week as date night|
|I will become more knowledgeable about my industry||I will spend 20 minutes each day reading industry blogs|
|I will enjoy my life more||I will spend one hour each day doing something I like to do|
|I will get out of debt||I will stop spending money on x, y, and z|
|I will be less stressed||I will make a list of the things that stress me out and stay away from them|