Have you tried to make resolutions in the past but just can’t seem to make them stick? I know I have. Coming into 2019, I am not going to make promises to myself I know I just cannot keep. I am not going to look at the entire year and try to make some broad commitment which always seems to include something about losing weight and going to the gym more often. I know I need to do these things, plus a little more. But if I start out big, I know I am going to fail. And failing always involves trying to get back on the wagon, which most of us punish ourselves way too much for falling off.
So, how does a person actually accomplish a few goals without making a huge commitment? Well, since I like to eat cake (that, too, has got to slow down) I look at things as bite-sized issues. I mean, most people cannot eat a whole cake in one sitting, right? You take sly slices throughout the week to finish the cake. Then one day you look and it’s gone, right? Amazed at yourself that you ate the cake and didn’t even realize it has entirely disappeared.
I recently went on a business trip and had the opportunity to listen to a co-worker of mine speak on turning a risky opportunity into a multi-million dollar payoff. I have known this person for years and understood what he accomplished. But I wanted to learn HOW he did it.
I am aware when people tell stories like this there are always the naysayers that add, ‘he just got lucky’, or ‘he had a skill that made him better.’ Since I know this person, yes, there is a level of skill that he has but, that just cannot be IT. How did he actually accomplish such a huge goal in a short period of time? If you can figure that out then, more than likely, it can be applied to many aspects of your life; personal or professional.
He started his lecture with this question, ‘what is the secret to success?’ Most of our answers included having goals, writing down your goals, motivation, and commitment, which are all very good responses but not quite what he was looking for. His answer? ‘Habits.’ Yes, you have to have goals, it’s always good to keep your goals in front of you by writing them down but, if you don’t work on them consistently, what do you have? Developing habits, something that you plan, carve out a block of time for in your weekly schedule, will lead you to accomplish your goals.
My co-worker makes a list of what he wants to achieve, blocks out a little time every day to work on his goals. He carries the list around with him and looks at it periodically throughout the week. When he achieves an item on his list, he crosses it off and works on what’s remaining. So, he basically measures what he has accomplished, sets aside time to work on what he has written down and doesn’t deviate from his planned time. He stresses that planned time is an appointment much like a scheduled meeting with an individual.
My takeaway from his strategy can be applied, not to big resolutions but, small goals made incrementally throughout the year. I think it’s much easier and more effective to take small steps instead of trying to accomplish something huge, much like eating a cake one bite at a time. Bite-sized habits, when you commit to them, will help you reach your goals.
Whether you decide to make resolutions for the new year or not, I leave you with a quote to ponder.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Happy New Year!
Photos from Shutterstock