Happy New Year! It’s 2014. Do you have something you want to change or achieve in your life this year? You are definitely not alone! The new year is a natural time for us to reflect on the year that has just passed and welcome our new moment of time with lots of things on our list that we’d like to see changed. We commonly call this list our New Year’s resolutions.
Our problem is not that we desire to change, our problem usually lies in how we go about making those changes happen. So, in the hopes that we can break the pattern of those who continue to do the same things over and over again while expecting something different to happen, let’s stop the insanity by avoiding these 3 massive mistakes that many people make when going after their New Year’s goals.
Massive Mistake #1: They aren’t clear on what they really want.
This one seems pretty simple, but as a life coach, it’s the one thing I spend the most time on with my clients. The truth is, the more clear you are about what you want to have in your life, the more likely you are to achieve it.
When I was a young pastor, one of my mentors used to say, “Jeremy, if it’s a mist in the pulpit then it’ll be a fog in the pew.” Meaning, if you are confused about what you are trying to accomplish you can bet that those receiving your message are even more unclear. Being effective in achieving your goals requires you to be crystal clear about what you really want to do, have, and accomplish.
Here’s a tip to avoid massive mistake #1: Write down your resolutions or goals on a sheet of paper and then ask yourself, “What is the result that I really want to achieve?” Then write down, with as much specificity as possible, what you have decided to make happen this year. After that, make your goal statement measurable and trackable. For example, “I want to lose weight” is an unclear goal. On the other hand, “I want to lose 20 pounds by March 31st” is clear, measurable, and trackable.
Massive Mistake #2: They aren’t sure why they want to achieve their goals.
One of the most overlooked aspects of goal-setting is knowing your reasons why you want to make something happen. When you’re down and out and feeling like it just isn’t worth going through the pain of process anymore to make it to your goal, then you’ll need to have some strong reasons why you wanted to accomplish this in the first place.
The simple truth is, without a big enough reason why the price will always be too high. To make change happen in our lives there will always be sacrifices. But if we don’t take the time on the front end to realize and internalize what those reasons really are for ourselves, then we’ll fizzle out before we reach the finish line.
So, here’s a tip to avoid massive mistake #2: Look at your clear, measurable, and trackable goal and make a column next to it on a sheet of paper. At the top of the column write “reasons I want to make this happen” and then spend the next 5 minutes writing down all the reasons you can think of that are motivating you to make this goal a reality. Using our weight loss goal above as an example, you might write, “to feel sexy again, to have more energy to play with my kids, to fit into my black dress, to wear my favorite jeans again,” etc. When you’re feeling an exhilarating emotional charge just thinking about how awesome you’re going to feel when you make it to your goal, then you’ve achieved success in this step.
Massive Mistake #3: They never involve anyone else in the process.
Let’s face it. Most new year’s resolutions almost never find their way out of our minds onto a piece of paper, much less from our minds to our lips so that we can involve others. We know, though, that the times we’ve been making the most progress, the times we’ve been really making things happen, were because we had to answer to others.
My coaching mentor, Tony Robbins, likes to say, “People will do more for others than they will ever do for themselves.” If a dad keeps promising to stop smoking cigarettes because he knows he should, will he stop? Probably not. But if his 8-year old daughter asks him to stop so that she can have her daddy around for a long time and so that he will be there to walk her down the aisle when she gets married, will he stop? The chances are significantly higher, wouldn’t you say?
The truth is, very few people (if any) achieve anything great alone. Great athletes have great teammates and great teams have great coaches. In fact, I had one of the greatest personal development years of my life last year, thanks to my coach. What makes you think you need to do this on your own?
Here’s an easy way to avoid massive mistake #3: As soon as you’re done making your resolutions clear, measurable, and trackable, and you have written down all your reasons why you’re going to make this happen – tell somebody! Or tell a few somebodies :-) Ask them to check in on your progress periodically (set your own expectations) and then give them your list of reasons “why,” so that they can read them to you when you’re down and not feeling like going on. You’ll be glad you took this extra step to make something great happen in your life this year.
Question: What are some of the mistakes you’ve made or seen made by others that all of us should avoid when setting out to make this year better? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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