I Do NOT Resolve – Here’s What I Do!

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off

January = New Year = New Year’s Resolutions.

For most people, it’s not long before resolutions are broken.  According to Benjamin Hardy, only 8% of people accomplish their New Year’s Resolutions.  We spend the rest of the year accepting our failure and just doing what we did before.  So there goes another year.

So how do we stop the cycle?

 

Step By Step

 

The problem is that we resolve to do something, but we don’t identify the steps necessary to achieve the resolution.  We resolve to lose weight, but we still stop by the donut shop every Friday.  We resolve to read a certain number of books in a year and then spend our evenings in front of the TV.

 

 

We know what we want, we just don’t think about what we need to change to make it happen.  In the book Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It, Marshall Goldsmith defined 3 ways to handle change:

  1. Change yourself.
  2. Change the situation.
  3. Maintain the status quo and wonder why things aren’t working.

People who choose option 3 don’t keep their resolutions.  So we need to choose Curtain 1 or Curtain 2,  Or sometimes both.  How do we do that?  By addressing habits.

You resolve to read more because you just couldn’t find the time to read last year.  If you watch less TV, then you’ll have more time to read.  So instead of making some generic resolution to read more, put a book near your favorite chair and move the remote to the other side of the room.  Take a magazine with you when you are going to an appointment.  Give yourself some fresh air by reading during lunch.   You have opportunities to make small changes to make reading a habit.

Your Change Life Campaign will focus on changing the habits so that you can achieve your goals.

Start Your Change Life Campaign

It’s time to do some homework.  I hope you didn’t groan like my sons do when they hear the word homework.  All you need is your brain, some time to think, and a way to capture your thoughts (computer, pen and paper – whatever works for you).

Why Are You Doing This?

Let’s start with the reason.  Why do you want to start a Change Life Campaign?  Be as detailed as you can.  (It will help later.)  Look at all of the parts of your life and figure out what you’d like to change.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What’s not going well?

    Look at your reason for wanting to start a Change Life Campaign.  It’s time to dig deeper into why the reason matters to you.    Why are you considering changing your life?

If you’re working, what don’t you like about your current situation?  Consider the work you’re doing, the time you’re spending at work. the flexibility of your schedule, etc. etc.

What do you want to change about your personal life?  If your answer to that question is to ask “what personal life?”, then you’ve given yourself a big answer to address.

 

  • What’s going well?
    Your life isn’t a complete disaster.  I hope.  It’s not unusual to focus on the negative and discount the positive.  Starting on a positive note will make it easier to keep going – you’ll be less likely to curl up in a fetal position in a corner.

 

  • What are you good at?
    You might give good presentations.  You’re a good writer.  As you’re brainstorming, think about what compliments you’ve received.  If you’ve gotten performance appraisals, look at what strengths your boss has recognized.  You can even ask people what they think your strengths are.

 

  • What aren’t you good at?
    Now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin.  Have those performance appraisals mentioned skills you could improve?  You’re not a jack of all trades, so narrow down your skills.  For example, I’ve worked in IT for two decades, but I’m not a programmer.  I can write a simple SQL query, but that’s about it.  It’s not an indictment, it’s recognizing where you have less experience or a lower skill level.

 

  • What do you like?  Just because you’re good at someone doesn’t mean you want to do it.  You may need additional training to do what you like, but add it to the list.

Any ideas on where you want to end up?  Do you want to run your own business instead of doing your current job?  If so, what kind of business do you want?  Be as specific as you can, but it’s OK if you’re not ready to do that.  Just brainstorm a few ideas on what you could do.

 

Making life changes? Start here!

Where do you want to be?

If you’re going to take a journey, it makes sense to know your destination.  Otherwise, how do you know when you’ve gotten to the right place?

 

So as we’re starting our Change Life Campaign, the logical place to start is to figure out what changes you want to make.  What would be the Dream You?

  • Do you have any health issues you need to address?
  • Do you like where you’re living?
    • Do you want to move?  Where?
    • Is there anything you’d like to change about where you live now?
      • Household improvements?
      • Decluttering?
      • Move stuff around?
  • Do you want a different job?  What job do you want?
  • Is there some dream destination you want to visit, where is it?
    • How long would you stay?
    • Would you want anyone to go with you?

 

You’ll have different answers than anyone else, because different people are looking for different things.

Now it’s time for you to document what you would like to accomplish during your Change Life Campaign.  I was in a training class where the instructor asked, “What is the difference between wishes and goals?”  The answer: “Goals are written down.”  So now is the time to get out paper and pencil (or, if you’re like me, multicolored pens) and start writing.

 

What format should you use?  The format that will work best for you!

Here are a few ideas:

 

Make a list.

Your Change Life Campaign could start with a simple list of your answers.  You might group them in different categories.  You might decide to put them in order of importance.  You might just want to scribble them down when you think of them.  There are no wrong answers.

 

Make boxes on your page to categorize.

Some of you might want to make boxes on your page for different categories.  Then you can group your ideas by category.  You may write your ideas in a list format, or you could just go freeform and scribble them wherever you want in the box.  Pick what works for you.

 

 

Make a mind map.

This one’s fun.  You start with a blank piece of paper.  Write the word ME in the middle of the page and circle it.  Then put more circles around that one that includes areas of your life you want to address (health, home, etc.)  Then you can branch out from those with other circles or just ideas.

For example, if you had a circle for Health, you may want to put other circles around it for Food, Exercise, etc.  that you can branch off of (eat more vegetables, join a gym, etc.).  You may want to put branches around your Health circle for things like get a flu shot, schedule a physical, etc.  Or you might do a combination of both.  Whatever captures your ideas best for you.

 

You’re not signing a contract in blood.

Maybe you start off doing a mind map, and it just doesn’t make sense for you.  Or you start a list and decide you just want to free-form scribble.  Go for it!  There’s no law against changing how you capture your Dream You on paper.  You’ll be checking back to this paper regularly, so you need to document in the clearest, most comfortable way for you.

And you’re off!

Now that you’ve clarified what your Change Life Campaign means to you, you can start to work on getting there.  Next, we’ll get a better idea of where we’re starting.  After all, you can’t get from Point A (where you are) to Point B (where you want to be) if you don’t know what they are!