Step 1 and step 2 are complete: reflect on the past year and set goals/resolutions for the new year, but setting goals is never enough. If you have passion and purpose, (2 other keys to success), then you’ll feel great about your goals and highly motivated within the first few days, maybe even the first few weeks. Sooner or later that motivation runs out. You no longer want to get up as early as you have been, you start to get sick with the changing weather, you start craving for that junk food you gave away a few days ago, the exercise equipment in the gym is being used, forcing you to adjust your workout. Everything and anything will be out there trying to fray you of your motivation, but when you lose that motivation will you forget about the goal you set? Will you take a day off or two and eventually give up on your resolutions altogether? This is where discipline is the key to success. When your motivation fails you, discipline will be there to help guide you on your journey.
How do you gain and maintain discipline? Here is what you need to do:
Write your goals down (Hopefully, you’ve already done this)
Somewhere, you have establish your goals and prioritize them on which ones mean the most to you. On your list make sure you set in place an action plan or smaller goals that will eventually lead you to the main goal you wrote down. You have to look at your goals every day and remind yourself what you will accomplish this year. You can do that by looking at a journal everyday, a planner or even a vision board.
Wake up with a purpose
In my 5 keys to success, purpose is number 1. If you don’t have a purpose in doing a task, or going after a goal, you will not achieve it and you will not do your best. Consider the goal of going to the gym. It is typically the one that everyone has beginning January 1st, but by January 14th, most people give up. Why? They either forget their purpose in going to the gym or their purpose wasn’t strong enough to begin with. How do we solve this dilemma? Each day you wake up, wake up with a purpose. Wake up and attack the day knowing why you are attacking the day. What do you intend to do with the rest of your life? It all starts today. It won’t start tomorrow because you will always tell yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” I know because I’ve been there, too. Which leads me to the next item:
Create a Morning Routine
If excellence is habits, then your morning routine is gold. We get sucked into our phones and some of us use our phones as our alarm clock. When we go to turn it off, we see all of the notifications and have our mindset set on our phone immediately. Consider waiting 30 minutes to look and use your phone after you wake up. With the first 30 minutes, consider getting the blood flowing by doing pushups or crunches, drinking a full glass of water, writing down your top 3 goals of the day and completing your first task. The task I have been completing first thing in the morning is emptying the dishwasher. That way it not only starts my day off right, but my wife feels like there is less to do in the morning which helps start her day off right, as well. In Make Your Bed, by Admiral William H. McRaven, he explains the importance of making your bed first thing in the morning. When you make your bed, you are already setting the tone of the day by completing a task. This creates a snowball effect and makes you want to continue the production and complete more tasks.
Track your habits
Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Research shows that it takes 21 days to create a habit. That’s why it is important to track your habits daily, in order to successfully achieve your New Year’s resolutions. There are many options out there, but this is what I like to use:
It allows me to visually see each day of the week’s progress and what I need to do for the rest of the day to get me one day closer to success. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. It will take time.
In order to see if the plan or process is working, you have to take a step back and reflect. Ask yourself if you’re seeing the results you want to see, if you could be putting forth more effort or if the plan is being neglected. A great way to do this is by having a reflection journal and writing in it every day on the things that went well, bad or need improvement.
Adjust the Plan
After you perform your self-reflection, ask yourself if the plan needs to be adjusted. Can you improve the process or improve the action plan to achieve your goals and be successful. You cannot just write a goal with an action plan and expect it to be perfect. We learn through our experiences which are, many times, completed by trial and error.
How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions so far? Hopefully, you have not given up. Continue the grind and push through the obstacles. What’s your excuse?