Wednesday, December 5, 2012

goals and resolutions - an 8-point primer

goals and resolutions - an 8-point primer

It's about that time of the year - we're winding down this year and New Year's Resolutions for next year are just around the corner. (We all know how crowded the gym gets in January, right?) I've succeeded, and failed, at scores of goals over the years, and here are some of the key points I've learned:

man running stairs
(microsoft clipart)

1.) Not too many! Pick 1 goal, maybe 2, that you can give your full attention to, and win on that goal. Over time you'll be able to modify that goal and add additional goals.

2.) Envision your Goal; Act on your Subgoals. Losing 40 pounds will be great - envision the skinny you as hard as you can. But your daily actions will include the subgoals of eating less and exercising more.

3.) Consistency Counts. 50 push-ups a day doesn't sound like a lot; you could do a few in the morning, some more throughout the day, and then a few at bedtime. Do this every day next year and you will have done 18,250 push-ups! Small actions, done consistently over time, become great achievements.

4.) Achievement Goals. Running a marathon, writing a book, learning to play guitar. Achievement goals require massive amounts of focus and energy, but once they're done, they're done. You will always have that achievement in your life-resume. Dream big on achievement goals.

5.) Habit Goals. Regular exercise, reading more frequently, writing a blog, social commitments. Habit goals take an enormous amount of time and energy, and their time commitments add up cumulatively. Start with very modest habit goals; you can always add to them later.

6.) Quitting Goals. Smoking, drinking, sweets, soda, watching TV, aimless internet surfing.While quitting something doesn't take time or money, and often gives you time and/or money back, they require a great deal of emotional and mental energy. I think they're the most difficult type of goal, because you'll have multiple opportunities to fail every single day.

7.) Time-Free Goals. Saving money, eating healthier, being friendlier to strangers. These goals require the same dedication and consistency as the others, but they are essentially free - they don't take you away from your other time commitments.

8.) Why this goal? Dig deep to understand why you're working on this goal. Losing 40 pounds sounds good, but why are you doing it? To look better for others? To look better for yourself? To be healthier - to stop taking blood pressure medication? To be around for your grandchildren? To be able to do more "stuff" without getting winded? Goals driven by internal factors are more likely to be successful; goals with an external focus are harder to define and harder to achieve.

This should give you something to think about as you start working on your goals and resolutions for next year. Let's make next year the most successful year yet!

-Chris Butterworth