If you’re like every other normal person on the earth, you probably made some new year’s resolutions. Right? Or maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t, either you just didn’t care, or you were smarter than that. Well, nevertheless, it’s time to start caring, because this is the stuff that matters.
Let’s get real:
Next year you are going to look back at 2013 wishing you had done the things you had intended to do now. You will hold true to your resolutions for a few days, a week, a month, a couple months, or maybe half the year…if you’re that lucky. But you probably won’t make it all the way through. You will give up. Quit. Done. The excitement of the new year will wear off, then your passion to make your life better will dwindle. It happens every year. You make resolutions to change your life around the same time each year. But every new year, you look back thinking, “Last year didn’t quite go the way I wanted. It didn’t happen. I didn’t pull through.” Let me tell you this, brutal as it may sound: you won’t pull through on your resolutions this year either.
Here’s the thing: If we do this “making resolutions” deal every year, yet every late December/early January we look back on the year before and don’t feel fulfilled, SOMETHING IS WRONG.
So, this year I’ve concluded to ditch resolutions. Why? Cause I’ve got something better.
It’s called a plan.
Here’s what I’m going to do to pull off my plan for this year:
1) Change my terminology. Resolutions deal with “what I want to do,” but plans deal with “what I’m GOING to do.” I don’t simply want to do anything different this year. I plan to do things different, and my words will reflect that. After all, words have power. “This year I want to _________” statements don’t get you anywhere. Be smart with what you say.
2) Work backward. You know that annoying cliché phrase “Begin with the end in mind?” Well, there’s immense wisdom in that. Resolutions say, “What can I do starting right now to get better?” That seems logical, but it’s failed millions of times for millions of people. I’m starting in the mindset of “where do I want to be at this time next year?” Then I start working backward month by month. So it’s examining what I have to do in December to get to January 1st. Then what I have to do in November to get to that place in December. I do that until I get to the “right now.” Then I ask, “what do I have to start doing right at this moment in order to stay on track for the plan I’ve made?” I keep in my mind that if I don’t do what I’m supposed to do NOW, it messes up every single thing I have planned for the next year. Motivating, right? Don’t start your planning with right now. Start it with this time next year. You’ll be sorry if you don’t. (Don’t be afraid to think lofty. Big dreams are within your grasp.)
3) Schedule it. I’ve got a great pastor friend that talks about priorities & time management and in one way or another says, “If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.” You will always find a way around or run out of time for the things you don’t schedule…the things you don’t make a priority. I’m scheduling my plan, putting it in writing. Resolutions are things that stay in your head, but if you want to make a good plan, you write it out. Go out and buy a new planner. Schedule in specific dates & times where you will either work on what you want or deadlines where you have to have something done to fulfill your plan. Have an overview for each month so you can glance at it quick & know what you need to do that month. Make copies. Post them everywhere during the month they apply.
4) Grab 2 or 3 people to keep me on track. The fancy word for this is “accountability.” These people will check in with me every week or 2 to see if I’m on track with my plan & fulfilling my scheduled obligations. This pushes me to stay on track, not knowing when they’re going to check up on me. Additionally, it’s a good reminder to keep my plan on the front burner, emphasizing it’s priority status. You could have accountability check in every week or 2 as well, or maybe just once a month. It all depends on the nature of your plan. But the higher the frequency, the better. But you’ll want to have specific questions they should ask about every time. Without that, your accountability is entirely useless. In fact, it helps even more if at least 1 accountability buddy has a similar plan, that way you can push & challenge each other along the way. Competition. That’s some good motivation right there. The only warning here is, only share your plan with your few accountability buddies or very close friends. Don’t tell everybody and their dog. If you do, sure enough, everyone and their dog will show up looking for results, and putting their nose where it doesn’t belong. No pressure, right? That’s what we call demotivation. That stinks. If you keep your accountability small, but effective, and you stay on course with your plan, people are bound to notice. The changes will eventually manifest themselves. Why tell everybody now and spoil the fun, when you can catch them by surprise later?
Ditch resolutions. Develop a plan for 2013 and then do it.
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