Planning is not enough.
I never had a problem planning things or writing to-do lists. I like getting things done. It makes me feel accomplished.
That doesn't mean I never fail my new ears resolution, in fact I do a lot.
So, this year instead of writing more lists I took the time to understand why I fail them and how to set a goal.
My lists are random, it’s a mixture of personal and professional goals. It’s more of a wish list than a resolution.
I have already set myself for failure from the way I usually write my list. There is a loose deadline (the approaching next 12 months) and no follow ups or plans on how to get it done.
If you see, the New Year mostly starts with high energy levels equipped with a long to do list. In a week, the energy level is dwindling and by the end of the month the list has become just another New Year resolution.
The reason behind it if you think is we fail to create a habit out of it. We try it out and then just give up one day.
And that’s precisely what I wanted to change. So, I thought what action I can take that ensures I won’t give up. I decide not to have a new year’s resolution at all. Instead I just have one item in my list.
Just one. I have made it simple. I can only change or inculcate one habit of mine at a time. And I want to focus all my energy in it.
I focus on these 9 things-
- Remember it on time- I don’t want to think of my goal throughout the day. I only think of it at a specific time of the day, when I will be working on it. And I decided on the time based on my availability (I need to be free and nothing else should come up).
- Give ample time to yourself- I have a window of 2 hours within which I have to get it done everyday. Telling myself I have to do it at 6 pm might not work, just in case I can’t make it at 6 and then my mind automatically pushes it till tomorrow. The 2 hour window helps and I haven’t missed a day.
- Do it everyday- I can do something every day, it’s easier for me than doing it on alternate days. Once you have the habit formed, you can decide which days you want to do it. I didn't want to leave much fodder for my mood that day- I knew I just had to do it everyday no matter what.
- Don’t think much- I really don’t and this has been working. Instead of thinking about doing the new task, I just go ahead and do it.
- Enjoy the rewards- I don’t buy myself a gift because I have been keeping my goal, I simply focus on the feel good factor after getting it done. And I repeat it the next day again. That allows me to focus on the goal and not anything else. keeping the resolution is my reward.
- Use the 80-20 rule- Don’t allow yourself to think slipping a day is okay- its not. However, once in a while just do something you would like to do and still continue with your new habit. Don’t skip it. That allows you the freedom to have fun but also work on your schedule. Like you can have a cheese cake but still exercise.
- Don’t share publicly- There are lots of studies that say, sharing your goal/resolution/new habit with your friends, makes you more accountable and that leads to lesser chances of failures. Doesn't work. I tried, I shared and hey I failed over and over again. So, I don’t believe in the disclosure and it’s the feel good factor that will keep you going.
- Feel the changing environment- Truth be told, one new habit can change a lot more. I have one goal and the feel good factor of keeping it makes me happy. So I work on the other areas too that extend and doubles up my feel good factor and I use it back to pursue my goal. My life is more organized and I am definitely happier. I still have only one resolution.
- Give yourself a head start- Don’t wait till January to begin, give yourself a head start and start from December. By the time its new year, you have already created a habit and maintaining your new resolution will be much easier. Cheers to that!