I will travel more. I will read more books. I will cook for myself everyday. I will adopt a healthier lifestyle. I will spend more time with my family and friends. I will achieve those awesome grades. I will be more productive at work. Sounds familiar?
I am sure most of us have made these fantastic resolutions every new year at some point in our lives and more often than not, failed at it. Miserably. While willpower and determination are the primary ingredients to make that transformative change, it is discipline that we often lack. The best practice to get yourself to be disciplined and achieve your goals is to get your resolutions to be SMART.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Action-oriented
R – Realistic
T – Within timeline
Here’s a 4-point guide to do this wonderfully.
Be specific and break it down to actionables:
It sounds great that you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle or spend more time with family. These are great thoughts and intentions, but your plan must answer the “HOW” to stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals.
Planning to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep and run every day for an hour is specific and more action-oriented than the mere “Lead a healthier lifestyle”. So say to yourself – “I am going to go to bed by 11.30 PM, no matter what” and set your alarm clock for 5.30 AM every single day without fail. Next actionable item on your list could be “I am going to have fruits every day before breakfast”.
My new-year resolution for 2018 was to spend more time with family. So instead of saying “I’m going to spend quality time with family”; I resolved to “Set aside four hours every weekend to spend quality time with them”.
However, there are quite a few who need some more cajoling to be more disciplined and adding in a reward or a punishment to your actionable items may help too. So to stick to new-year resolution in 2018 and read more, I decided to not sleep unless I have read 15 pages everyday. And trust me, these actionable items which can easily fit into your to-do lists actually work and help you achieve your goals.
Know Your Truth:
If you practically live on frozen foods and packaged products, let’s face it – You are not going to start cooking 3 meals a day; 7 days a week overnight. Please be a little more self-aware and patient with yourself. I call this ‘Know Your Truth’.
So to ensure that you start cooking your meals, begin with cooking atleast three meals during the week in January and gradually increase it to five meals every week in February, then 8 meals in March, so on and so forth. In essence, please be realistic with your actionable items and set timelines as well.
Every day or week, go over your actionable items and check whether you have stuck to the plan or not. And if you have – treat yourself at the spa or go watch your favorite game.
Choose to do something NOW.
It’s vitally important to remember that something is better than nothing. So what if you didn’t cook any meal this week, or you overslept on Sunday and didn’t run, or didn’t have the laundry done for over two weeks. Concentrate the things you can DO. Every time you take your family out, every time you don’t take that soda, every time you don’t smoke, every time you choose to read a book over Netflix – makes a difference.
So next time when you realize that you have not followed the planned regimen for 10 days in February and you decide to restart in March – Stop. Yourself. Right. There. Choose to do something NOW over following your ideal plan LATER.
So that’s about it. Get a plan in place. Put it on your to-do list. Check it off the list. Award Yourself.
2019, let’s do this and kick ass!