“You don’t have to wait for a new year to have a new beginning. Start now.” -Ciara Lilly
I know there are a lot of people who are fond of New Year’s resolutions; I used to be one of those people. But I’ve learned that waiting until December 31 to make a list of all the accomplishments and improvements that you would like to achieve in the new year is not the best method to ensure success. Here’s why:
We all drink the “New year, new me” Kool-Aid
And eventually the motivational high wears off
And we’re left wondering, “How did I think I was going to run a 20-mile marathon in two months when I haven’t ran in 10 years?” Okay, so maybe your New Year’s resolutions aren’t that far off, but you get the point. By waiting until the very last minute, we forfeit critical planning time; couple that with the “New year, new me” Kool-Aid and we’re guaranteed to set great goals that are unrealistic. We see this in action every new year, just go to your local gym and you’ll see great examples. On January 1 the gym will be packed. And for about a month (I’m being generous, it may be two-weeks), you’ll see the number of people dwindle down. By the end of February, the gym traffic will return to normal with the exception of a few new faces that were truly dedicated to their fitness goals. How is that possible?
The motivational high wore off
And people opened the door for progression’s nemesis…
I can speak on this simply because I have been there. I know how comforting excuses can be, yet I also know how toxic they are to your progress. I’ve drank a whole pitcher of the “New year, new me” Kool-Aid; and I’ve set so many unrealistic goals that I should have used them for April Fool’s; that’s how much of a joke they were. But eventually, I got tired of the cycle and decided to change my approach. You can do the same thing! Below I’ve shared my approach to maximizing each year. Now, there are elements of this approach that started back in November, but don’t worry you can start today!
1. Throughout the year, conduct personal assessments to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Be critical, but gentle, as you identify your areas of improvement. Write down all your findings and brainstorm on ways you can improve as the year progresses.
2. As you think of specific goals that you would like to achieve, write them down and dedicate some time to creating a basic action plan. Ask yourself these preliminary questions:
- Is this a reachable goal right now or should I archive this as a future goal?
- With my schedule as it is, can I dedicate the necessary time to fulfill this goal?
- Am I truly passionate about this goal?
- What changes if I achieve this goal?
- How will achieving this goal impact others?
3. Compile the information from Steps 1-2 and develop a detailed action plan. Start this process by early November. In doing so, you’re giving yourself adequate time to lay out your detailed action plan. You’re not rushing to do Steps 1-2, because you’ve done them throughout the year. November is your month to lay out and polish up your detailed action plan.
4. December 1, start implementing your detailed action plan. So let’s stay you’ve set a goal to lose weight in the new year, don’t wait until January 1 to start working out or adjusting your diet, start December 1. This helps you develop the habit of working out and eating clean BEFORE the new year even begins. Just think, you could be seeing some results before the new year, which would increase your motivation to keep going.
5. Once the new year comes, it’s all about consistency. You have a plan, you have targets, you just have to implement it. Starting in February and periodically throughout the year, measure your effectiveness. Are you on track? Do you need to make any adjustments? This process will help ensure that you reach the finish line.
6. Change is good. Discipline is good. As you make progress, celebrate those victories! You deserve it!
“You don’t have to wait for a new year to have a new beginning. Start now.”