Stuntin’ Is a Habit: Tips to Help You Dominate Resolution SZN
I feel you. I really do.
As a multiple time Yo-Yo Dieter and sometimes overzealous goal-setter, I know everything about the ups and downs of the “New Year, New Me” mindset.
You start off the year ready to take on the world, and then your motivation slowly devolves as the excuses mount.
“I don’t have enough time.”
“Work drains all my energy.”
“I’m not cut out to be (insert aspiring label here).”
I get it, but guess what? Everybody experiences these things you’re whining about. Yes, even the ones you see following through on their goals.
But how do those “overachievers” do it? What’s their secret sauce?
I’m no motivational guru. I’m just a regular dude with run-of-the-mill problems and stresses. I’ve failed. Believe me, I’ve failed. But I’ve also experienced some success making progress on lifestyle changing goals, and I want to share some advice with you – Average Joe to Average Joe.
Get your mind right.
As they say, “train the mind and your body will follow.”
Getting your ass up at 4 a.m. to go on a run isn’t going to be easy. (Spoiler: It’s going to suck.)
Learning a new skill is going to be disheartening during the first part of your journey.
Refraining from jumping on all those Kinja Deals is going to be torture.
But if the goals you set for yourself are aligned to your core values, the stuff that defines who you are and want to contribute to the world, crushing your ambitions is going to be easier than you think.
Just like how accomplishing your big picture objectives takes a ton of work, so does reminding yourself why you’re trying to achieve what you set out to do. That’s why I constantly remind myself of the “whys” behind all my “whats”. And by “constantly”, I mean like every three to four hours, each and every day.
Without Evernote and its multi-device access, my life would crumble. Not only would I struggle to maintain any sort of organization in my work life, my personal aspirations would take a hit as well. That’s because I crystallize all of my goals, the big picture ones and the small ones, in one note and reference it multiple times each day.
In addition to my goals – which are categorized by things like “Professional Development”, “Health”, and “Family” – I also include in Evernote quotes, links to articles, and YouTube clips that are related to my objectives and that inspire me. Most of this reference content is from people I admire and can relate to in some form.
And to make sure I keep my eyes on the prize, I set up calendar reminders in Outlook to open up Evernote and remind myself what I should be prioritizing in my life.
Focus. Then focus some more.
Speaking of prioritization; if you’re serious about accomplishing your goals, you need to minimize everything in your life that’s not positively contributing to your journey.
If you’re trying to cut weight, identify the situations that will make your diet even more painful than it already is and avoid those settings whenever possible.
If you’re dead set on becoming a better writer, don’t pick up an entirely new hobby that’s not even tangentially related to bettering your craft.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy any downtime or explore new things, but if you’re as serious as you think you are about crushing your resolutions, you need to maximize your days on the 2-3 things that matter most. If you can do that, you won’t feel bad at all when you do treat yourself to some video game time or a night out with the boys because you know you’ve put in work most of the week.
And this laser-like focus can help you out at the “task” level as well.
One of my resolutions for 2019 was to increase my efficiency as a writer, so I wrote down everything that hinders me from swiftly churning out content. One of the biggest culprits for my inefficiency was unsurprisingly the fear of missing out, or FOMO. Taking my own advice, I thought about what I was “missing out” on by not checking my phone every 30 seconds and compared that to what contributes to achieving my goals and I wasn’t missing out on anything at all. Now whenever I have a writing assignment, I turn off all my desktop and mobile notifications for a set period of time without any sense of FOMO weighing on my creative process.
“The man who is prepared has his battle half fought.” – Miguel De Cervantes
The bigger the goals, the more intimidating they can be to take on.
That’s why you need to do everything you can to make them manageable to achieve. Dedicate a few hours each week to simply identifying when and how you can make progress towards your goals for the next seven days, month and quarter, and you’ll start your work week less stressed and ready to take on any surprises.
Unplanned work projects will inevitably be thrown your way, family commitments will arise, and you’ll undoubtedly have an “off day” here and there, but because you’ve planned your week around your major goals, you can easily adjust your daily to-do lists to account for unforeseen circumstances.
One of my weekly reminders includes creating my daily to-do lists after I review my progress on the previous week’s action items. This exercise includes reviewing my meeting calendar, reading flagged emails and Slack messages, and running through my “GOALZ” note in Evernote. I literally lay out everything I plan to do before, during and after each work day, which gives me the confidence I’m going to be focused on the right things all week.
Conducting a similar exercise over an extended period of time will help you quickly identify what’s holding you back from knocking out your resolutions because you are basically creating a running log of your progress, or lack thereof. Take time each month to review your weekly notes from a “big picture” perspective and you’ll surely pinpoint what is and isn’t working for you.
You can’t edit a blank page.
Real talk: you’re not going to accomplish all your goals in the time frame you prefer. And that’s okay.
It took me nearly 35 years on this Earth to come to grips with this inevitably, but it’s a powerful thing once you accept this is how personal development works.
One commonality I noticed in all my failures was how demoralized I felt when I didn’t make the type of progress I wanted.
If work got crazy for a few weeks and I didn’t have time to draft a chapter of my book, I would consider that time period a failure. If I didn’t meet a monthly weight goal because Christmas time with the family is never a healthy affair, I let that dejection carry over into the next month. The frustration just snowballed and made me miserable.
But here’s the thing: As long as you’re making progress and you have your eyes on the prize, you’re still on the right path!
“Success isn’t always about ‘greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come.”
This quote is from one of the most inspiring, determined and successful people in show business, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and is something I think about every day. All of the planning and motivational tactics under the sun won’t matter until you gain this type of perspective, so go on and write the next chapter of your story. You’ll have plenty of time to turn elements of your journey into a masterpiece.