Are you one of those people who make New Year’s Resolutions every year only to find that you have dropped one or all of them before the end of February?  What about dropping your resolution before the dawn of the double-digit day on the calendar (10th of January)?  Many of us are at least one of these individuals; but, we have hope that this will be the year we achieve what we vow to achieve.

On behalf of the world I say, CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE ACHIEVED YOUR GOAL!  I can imagine the confusion that has made its way to your mind along with a scowl as you contemplate why I would congratulate you today, the last day of the month & year.  Here’s the reason, you can be a Resolution Success Story but you must revise your plan of attack.   Oftentimes we fail to stick to our resolutions because we either a) don’t have a plan of attack, b) try to take off from zero to fifty without a V6 engine, or c) we allow setbacks to destroy our motivation.  I think we can all be Success Stories if we reframe our minds to think of resolutions as an appointment on our calendar.

Appointments are a way of life.  They come every day without fail.  These appointments could be as mundane as brushing our teeth each day or as vital as routine OB meetings for pregnant women.  We make appointments and we either meet them, cancel and reschedule, or show up late.  But in the end, our appointments guide our daily life.  So should your resolutions, here’s how:

1)  Take 5 minutes and think of one thing you would like to accomplish in the New Year.  What is the first step which must be taken?  Make that first step your resolution of the moment.  I know, I know, I hear you saying it in your head – resolution of the moment?  Yes, resolution of the moment!  Bear with me, it will begin to make sense.

2) Write your resolution of the moment on a post it note, note card, calendar, date book, computer, etc.  The point isn’t just to write it down but to write it down on something that is portable and can be placed in an area visible to you throughout today.  Make sure you write it clearly and specifically.  We don’t want any confusion as to what our first step must be.  This is your visible reminder of your goal.

3) Give yourself the target date of 12/31/12.  Look at the clock and add four hours to your current time and make that your time deadline for today.  Your new target date of completion would be 12/31/12 1:00pm (you insert the time).  Place this appointment date and time on your calendar.  If your calendar is electronic, arrange for notifications a minimum of two hours before your set time.  Allow this notification to be an auditory reminder to take the first step.

4)  Follow your daily agenda and find 15 minutes to take that first step.  If the goal was exercise, then take the long way around your office on the way to the copy machine or the bathroom.  Then take the long way back.  If the goal was go back to school, take a few minutes to obtain the phone number for a local university and call to request information.  Or go online and request information from the school.  The point: DO SOMETHING.

5)  When the alarm chides at the end of your four hours, clap your hands and wrap your arms around your body tightly.  You have just given yourself a hug and a round of applause.  Take that original post it note, notecards, etc that you used in step 1 and make sure you mark it completed and place the date and time.  Now figure out what the next step you need to take in the effort to obtain your resolution, and begin the process again.  The next step may be to call another university to obtain further information or it could be to walk around the office building a few more times.

This five step process allows to take calculated steps towards your desired outcome.  There are twenty-four hours in a day and the four-hour window allows you a minimum of 4 different opportunities to accomplish your step 1.  It also allows you 4 different opportunities to give yourself a round of applause and a hug.  These successes may seem small and inconsequential but they get you in the habit of changing yourself and taking action.  No one ever wins a marathon without first running a few meters which turn into miles which take you closer to the finish line.  If you start today, you can end this year by saying, “I am a Resolution Success Story!”

Til next time,

“Action expresses priorities” – Mohandas Gandhi

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