I'm not sure what the new year means to you, but for me, it's usually my cue to create my list of things I want to do better in my life...I write up the usual suspects, get organized, eat better, exercise, stop losing my phone, laugh more, make a budget, etc. But then some hiccup comes along and derails me...and I stumble along, just getting by, usually until some benchmark, like New Years, or tax day, or my birthday, prompts me to evaluate another shot at being better, doing better.
The funny thing about benchmarks is that there is always another one. It's an amazing built in excuse for waiting until "then" to jump back on the path envisioned. I have to admit it happened to me in the past few weeks...I had decided in December that January 1 would be a great day to start "the plan" - I had my plan and I was sticking to it! Then we got the call that my new nephew would be coming into the world around New Year's Eve, so it was road trip time and all my good intentions would just have to wait.
Anyone attempting to accomplish anything (like Sam and his golf goal) knows that there are built in pitfalls that need to acknowledged. I googled "accomplishing your New Year's resolutions" and I got 12.5 million results. One of the descriptions said that 85% of people that set resolutions fail...others are estimating up to 95% fail. Yikes.
Here's a quick rundown of common tips to help achieve goals:
1. Write your goals down. I'm a paper & pencil gal myself, but if you're in the techie world, I'm sure "there's an app for this", too. And follow up the goal with why you want to accomplish it.
2. Now assess your list. If you've got some big/vague goals, or a lot of them, now is the time to prioritize. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving goals is becoming overwhelmed. By breaking down big goals into small tasks with short term achievements, it can help with motivation and give some immediate sense of accomplishment that will help you move on. (Yep, this is one of my biggest stumbling blocks. I've got multiple large goals (both golf & non-golf related), but now I really need to focus on breaking those down to attainable "steps"...the smaller the better. Seriously. There is nothing better than checking things off the list).
3. I've read many suggestions that you should build in rewards as you accomplish goals. At first I thought the idea was silly because usually the result of achieving a goal leads to a reward, but I believe the world has shown us that incentives work...so if that means rewarding myself with a couple Vokey wedges if I get "so & so" done, then I'm in!
4. When I read Sam Johnson's last post of 2011, where he shared his New Year's resolution, he must have known that sharing your goals is a great way to get encouragement and accountability, and a very common recommendation to folks trying to get from one point to another. This is a toughie for me, and I'm not sure why. I have some truly awesome friends who I would be the best cheerleaders on the planet, but I think idea that I might fail and have to admit that holds me back. But I can't help but see the value, so I plan to tackle this one.
5. One of my favorites is: Don't give up. Obviously easier said than done considering the fail rate of resolutions, so I would alter that to say, "Don't be afraid to reassess or revise". Sometimes our intentions, even the small ones, might be unrealistic or find their way down the priority list. Just taking the time to acknowledge that some goals might not work now, and replacing them with others that need our attention, can help curb that feeling of failure.
There were a lot more tips and suggestions to make resolutions work, but I'm sure you get the idea. I read somewhere else that they say it takes 21 times to make a new practice a habit...so if you're doing something new only once a week, it's going to take some effort for quite awhile before it becomes second nature. Having lists or reminders, along with journaling, can help combat that fail rate they talk about.
My final thoughts are these...believe in yourself and don't be afraid to try. As someone who has subscribed to the "if you don't try you can't fail" motto during many times in my life, it isn't until later that you find out about all you missed out on by not taking the chance. With that said, I also think some wise words are also..."know your limitations"...there's a big difference between fear and foolishness, so just take some thoughtful consideration before jumping into anything new or creating unrealistic expectations.
Honestly, I wrote this for myself today - my own little pep talk as I attempt to climb out of the hole I dug for myself this past year or so. I keep telling myself, you have to start somewhere. And if you're there, too, I'll be rooting for you! Goals...here I come!!
Filed under: Sam Johnson, goals, Golf, Cathy Erickson, resolutions, 2012, encouragement, believe