It’s about half way through 2010 now and research say that roughly 50% of our New Years Resolutions have been kept so far with just 12% lasting the whole year. That’s only 1 in every 8 of us getting what we want this year and more of us are going to give up by December. How can you save yourself from becoming just another statistic?
Before 2010, I’d never achieved a meaningful goal in my life, never mind a full resolution for 365 days. On December 31st 2009 I decided this was going to be the year I turned everything around. I got drunk at a New Years Party and something deep clicked within me and I knew that the fresh new year would be different if it killed me. From the inside looking out, here are some of the tips that actually work.
1. Set habits that support your goals – You might have a goal to earn $1000/month from something you are passionate about. A great idea is to install relevant habits in your life, one month at a time. Resolve to do one thing every day for 30 days to make that habit automatic.I often make goals in my head and they stay there. A calendar month is perfect for this.
You could set the habit of
- Writing 1000 words per day
- Contacting 10 prospective buyers per day etc
- Attempting a new diet
- Daily exercise
The amazing thing is that when the month is over, your goals are going to happen. It’s just a matter of time and enjoying the ride. The habit will be so deeply ingrained within you that you will not even think of it as work or effort, it will just come to you naturally.
Three months down the line you could have contacted 900 prospective business partners, exercised daily for 90 days, wrote a book or two with the 90,000 words you’ve wrote or totally turned your diet around. When you start stacking habits one after another with a new one each month then you totally change as a person and it’s a beautiful experience. Putting this formula to use is worth millions to the unhappy rich people if they could be shown its explosive power.
2. Don’t set them too far in the future - Have ideas about where you want to go goals-wise a few months from now but don’t set anything in concrete beyond 3 months. I live to keep it to just this month and the next one. Life’s circumstances will change so quickly that you might be in a completely different place 6 months from now to where you envisioned.
3. What’s the bigger picture? - Usually you will have lots of smaller goals that converge around one larger goal. Identify that larger goal and by holding the picture of it in your mind you will be motivated more than holding the picture of “I have to exercise AGAIN today, this stuff never ends!”. This is simple but powerful.
4. Set small goals to get moving - Sometimes when you’re in a rut it can be hard to even get out of bed in the morning. My only goal for January was to get out of bed each day at 9am, stay awake and nothing else. No job, no income etc. It’s amazing how little goals can spur you on to progressively bigger and bigger ones. That little exercise of self control shatters low confidence and you can build yourself from there. Push yourself a little further with each new goal and a year from now you will be astounded at your progress.
5. Set large goals to motivate you - Doesn’t this contradict what I said before about setting smaller goals? Not really. You see, the small goals will get you off the ground and moving but it takes a big beautiful image of what you want to keep you going through the tough times. Take action now in small amounts but have yourself pointed towards your major goal.
6. Maybe you have to suffer more? - You will suffer continually until you take control of your life. Many of life’s great successes come out of great suffering (Buddha is a good example). You were put here to create and express yourself. You’re beyond the level of an animal that lacks self direction and you will keep on suffering until you do what you intuitively know is right. You can choose to follow your goals right now though even if its only baby steps at first. Seize today and tomorrow will fall into place or keep on suffering.
7. Are they your goals? - Are you working to go to University when the only real motivation is coming from your family? Or working a job you hate to please Daddy? It takes real guts to look within and admit something like this to yourself and I challenge you to do so now. If you felt uncomfortable doing that, there’s something to this.
Set your own goals. You’ll have to live with what happens and when people see what a success you are becoming they will start to back you up. You’ll be a huge difference in the lives of those around you. How’s that for inspiration!
8. Tell People - I often make goals in my head and they stay there. By getting the goal into reality, you are half way there already. By telling someone close to you, you feel an obligation to do it and you will get comfortable with the idea that you can tell people a goal and know that you will achieve it. It feels great to tell someone something and watch their faces drop as you go out and do exactly what they said you couldn’t.
9. Set top-down goals - We must set goals with the highest good in mind. Start at your life purpose and work your way down. If you don’t know your purpose, start with your highest values. Setting a goal of $3000/month income will bore you so much if you do it bottom up. It’s literally the difference between a job you love and a job you accept. There is a part of us that knows setting goals for money, status etc will not make us happy. If we are working towards the greater good then every moment is a joy to experience.
10. Set scary goals - We can all set a goal to lose 5 lbs. Imagine a goal of having “ultimate vitality and being full of life, having enough energy to feel great and do what I love all day and still have energy left to play with my kids”. Which one will motivate you more? The 5lb goal is logically easier but nobody is motivated to lose just 5lbs for the sake of it. Constantly facing our fears with huge goals is an amazing adrenaline filled ride. Sometimes setting a huge scary goal will cause you to fail but you will have come so far towards it that the puny goals you set beforehand will seem trivial.
11. My #1 Tip For Achieving Your Goals - In 2010 I’ve set so many goals and achieved them all (I’m big-headed about it too!). Every single one for 3-4 months consecutively. Getting up at 5am daily, exercising daily, eating a Raw Food Diet. I always felt that I was swimming upstream though, living by the motto “You have to fight hard to get what you want”.
My goal for May is to be totally in the moment as much as I can. If I catch myself thinking about the future or the past, I watch my mind doing that and then pull the attention back into this moment. This is my ultimate secret to goal setting. We live so much in the past and future in life that we fail to appreciate what we have now. Watch your mind doing this and it dies down on its own and you’ll be left with all that is left which is this beautiful moment. Goal setting is ultimately about deciding a journey and enjoying the moment you’re already in.
Life is a journey, not a destination. We’ve all heard this but how many of us practice it daily? If you could really press fast forward to the ultimate destination would you? I don’t want to meet Mr Grim Reaper any sooner than I have to. Enjoy the journey. By taking action and being totally mindful of this moment, you will achieve your goals and enjoy the process which is something we all deserve to experience.
Richard Shelmerdine is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain and a contributing writer for DumbLittleMan. He has his own blog which focuses on self improvement and growth. Check it out!