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Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Years resolutions?

For me my New Years is in September. Seems kinds natural after 17yrs of school. With the start of every new school year there was always: new clothes, books and of course - my ever precious a new set of Laurentian pencil crayons. 

For the rest of the world January 1 is a new lease on life. 
Promises to ourselves of: weight loss, eat less, eat healthier, read more, be a better person, focus on family and friends, improve your business or find a new job. All of these promises that we make to ourselves, to improve our lives through self awareness. Unfortunately 98% of us lose track and we fall back in our old ways. It's comfortable. Change is not.

Most fitness club memberships are abandoned my March, eating habits go back to what they were and the Kobo is loaded up with books but is still sitting on the bedside table, instead of in your bag to read everyday and you've made plans to meet up with your friends - in June. Well at least meeting your friends in June is better than Christmas. 

Remember- change takes place outside our comfort zone!

How can you make permanent changes? 
It takes 120days to commit to a new change and make it permanent. This requires you to do something everyday for the 120days, even in a small way to help make this part of your new routine. 

Not only should you write down your goals - health, business or personal, but review them daily. Make these goals realistic, for example-winning the lottery, although is a lofty goal, not something you have a direct affect=outcome. 

I recommend each person write down a goal from each aspect of their life: one financial goal; one personal goal; one lifestyle goal; one happiness goal; one fitness goal-mental or physical. Write them on a small piece of card and keep it with you, review it daily. Keeping these goals in mind as you go through your daily lives will help you change your outlook from "what can I do" to "I can do it". 

Commit your goals to writing, personal and professional reasons why you should.
These can be personal- weight loss, personal growth, financial goals, since these are the most
common concerns that I see in my practice with my patients. Financial goals can also be small business goals, these will help you focus your goals and measure the results from your efforts. 

  1. It will force you to clarify what you want. Imagine setting out on a trip with no particular destination in mind. How do you pack? What roads do you take? How do you know when you have arrived? Instead, you start by picking a destination. The same is true with the milestones in your life. Writing down your goals forces you to select something specific and decide what you want.
  2. It will motivate you to take action. Writing your goals down is only the beginning. Articulating your intention is important, but it is not enough. You must execute on your goals. You have to take action. I have found that writing down my goals and reviewing them regularly provokes me to take the next most important action.
  3. It will provide a filter for other opportunities. The more successful you become, the more you will be deluged with opportunities. In fact, these new opportunities can quickly become distractions that pull you off course. The only antidote I know of is to maintain a list of written goals by which to evaluate these new opportunities.
  4. It will help you overcome resistance. Every meaningful intention, dream, or goal encounters resistance. From the moment you set a goal, you will begin to feel it. But if you focus on the resistance, it will only get stronger. The only way I have found for overcoming it, is to focus on the goal—the thing I want. 
  5. It will enable you to see—and celebrate—your progress. Life is hard. It is particularly difficult when you aren’t seeing progress. You feel like you are working yourself to death, going nowhere. But written goals are like mile-markers on a highway. They enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go. They also provide an opportunity for celebration when you attain them.
  6. For business think S.M.A.R.T. when you create your goal setting worksheet:

    Specific: Goals need to be specific. Try to answer the questions of How much and What kind with each goal you write.
    Measurable: Goals must be stated in quantifiable terms, or otherwise they’re only good intentions. Measurable goals facilitate management planning, implementation, and control. 
    Attainable: Goals must provide a stretch that inspires people to aim higher. Goals must be achievable, or they’re a set-up for failure. Set goals you know you, your company, and employees can realistically reach.
    Responsible person: Goals must be assigned to a person or a department. But just because a person is assigned to a goal doesn’t mean that she’s solely responsible for its achievement. See our article on Performance Management for ideas on how to hold your team accountable for goal achievement.
    Time specific: With reference to time, your goals must include a timeline of when your goals should be accomplished.
    In Business, goal setting that is S.M.A.R.T. can make a huge difference in maintaining growth and momentum. Whether you run a modest department or a massive corporation, make sure that you always make an effort to add these properties to the goals you set!
Writing your goals down doesn’t take that long. Don’t over-think the process. Just get something on paper and refine it as you go. I think you will find that the benefits are well-worth the effort.

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