2014 is coming to an end. What a scary thought…
At the New Year, millions of people get motivated. Families gather around and write down their New Year’s resolutions. Businesses discuss what needs to be done this year in order to move forward. It is an exciting time of year filled with plans for the future.
The sad truth about the New Year is that the excitement rarely lasts for a long period of time. Many New Year’s resolutions require monumental leaps from the first day of the New Year to the last day of the New Year. Towards the end of January, when there is still a long way to go and that initial spark of motivation dies out, many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. By the end of February, over 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions.
I want you to be in the 20% bracket. I want you to stay true to your New Year’s resolutions. Goals that you set for yourself deserve to get accomplished. Accomplishing those goals will help you get from where you are to where you want to be. However, we cannot approach our New Year’s resolutions with the traditional process that most people use. The traditional process of setting New Year’s resolutions causes more harm than good.
The biggest mistake people make with their New Year’s resolutions is that they give themselves monumental goals without giving themselves the necessary stepping stones to get there. If you want to gain 10,000 blog subscribers this year, how are you going to get that many subscribers? What actions will you take to get more blog traffic? Grow your social media audience? Boost your SEO? Get people to stick around your blog longer? Optimize your blog so a higher percentage of its visitors subscribe? Those are just six stepping stones that I can think of on the top of my head, and there are plenty of other stepping stones to choose from.
Providing the stepping stones for your New Year’s resolutions is a vital step towards accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions, but even the stepping stones need stepping stones. Let’s take the example of growing your social media audience. Growing your social media audience would result in more blog subscribers, but how would you approach growing your social media audience? Would you focus on YouTube? your Twitter audience? Facebook Ads? Those are three stepping stones you can use to strengthen the stepping stone needed to get more blog subscribers. Writing down your New Year’s resolutions is good, but it is essential for you to have a detailed, highly organized plan that shows you step by step how to accomplish each of your New Year’s resolutions.
Once you create your plan and include the stepping stones, you will know what steps you need to follow to become successful. The only thing left to do at this stage is implement what you wrote down. This, in itself, is another hurdle that few jump over. After writing down goals, many people are fearful of failure, and upon a second glance, the work looks too extensive (that’s the excuse people use to get out of doing something). Many of these people give up on the goal early so they won’t have to admit failure later on.
Accomplishing New Year’s resolutions does not have to be impossible. There are only three ingredients you need to make the implementation easier. The first ingredient is urgency. If you give yourself closer deadlines to accomplish the same goals, and you stick with those deadlines, your mind will find a way to get the goal accomplished in a shorter amount of time. Constantly reminding yourself of the approaching deadline will only strengthen your ability to accomplish your goals.
The second ingredient is productivity. The more productive you are, the more you can accomplish. I have written numerous blog posts about productivity which can be found here.
The third ingredient is a series of daily, weekly, and monthly plans that strengthen your productivity. You need to identify day by day, week by week, and month by month what you need to accomplish. A plan like this could take a long period of time to create, so my recommendation is to only create an extensive plan like this once every three months, for the three upcoming months. If you start creating an extensive plan like this for January, then go no farther in your planning process than the first day of April.
Your ability to accomplish New Year’s resolutions does not depend on how easy or challenging those resolutions are. Your ability to accomplish New Year’s resolutions depends on how much planning you put into the process and how many stepping stones you create. You want to have as many stepping stones as possible because it is the small wins that result in the big momentum needed to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions.
Creating a detailed plan will also boost the belief in your abilities to accomplish a goal. Although there are tactics and skills that move you farther, you must believe in your abilities in order to truly move forward.