5 thoughts BEFORE you make your goals and resolutions

5 thoughts BEFORE you make your goals and resolutions

pad and pen ready to write down goals image Microsoft clipart

This post is a follow-up to my 8-point primer on goals and resolutions earlier in the month..

1.) Your goal isn't fun. (at least, not in the beginning)

Nobody sets a goal of playing more X-box or eating more donuts. We set goals that will make us happier in the long-term, but that require giving up something fun (like X-box or donuts) or inducing discomfort (like working out or focusing on writing a novel) in the short term.

Understand and embrace this trade-off. The short term pleasure is a drug; the long term benefits of your goal - whether physical, financial, emotional, social, or spiritual - will far outweigh whatever it is you're giving up.

2.) Goals involve change.

Understand that your goal will require you to change what you do and how you spend your time. Obviously, right? Because if you were already doing your goal you wouldn't need to set a goal for it.

Change can be uncomfortable. Change requires motivation, energy, and dedication. Change can cause friction. All good things - if you were happy with the way things were, you wouldn't have set this goal!

3.) Goals can be a grind.

The first time you workout, or meditate, or block out time to read, or write a few pages - it feels exhilirating, like you're controlling your own destiny. The second and third time will feel cool, too, but not quite as powerful as that first time.

But pretty soon you'll hit your first dip, where you aren't seeing the results you expected as quickly as you expected. You're tired, you're frustrated, and you can think of plenty of other things you'd rather be doing instead. It's critical to push through this first dip and continue on your new path.

You'll have more dips along the way - setbacks, illness, family obligations, projects at work - but they'll be easier to push through than that first one. And push through you must!

4.) Success breeds success.

Once you see results, it gets easier to buy into why you're making the effort you are. Maybe you've been able to:

  • Run a mile without stopping.
  • Drop a few pounds off the scale.
  • Meditate deeply for 15 minutes.
  • Finish reading a book.
  • Develop characters and a plot in your own book.

Whatever it is you're working on, seeing your own success makes it easier to continue making those short-term sacrifices and pushing through the dips. In fact, most people turn up the intensity once they start seeing results.

In addition to being more successful in that particular goal, seeing success also gives you the confidence to start thinking about the next goal you want to tackle!

5.) I want it BAD.

Knowing everything you're going to give up in exchange for your goal (sleep, TV, video games, fast food, facebook, sweets), and how hard you're going to work at it (sweat, sore muscles, hunger pains, cravings) - you better want this goal badly. You need to be able to elevate it above everything else in your world:

  • Being skinny is more important than eating the snacks in the break room at work.
  • Exercising is more important than that last 20 minutes of sleep.
  • The kids will be OK while I do my thing for a few minutes.
  • Finding peace and tranquility is more important than seeing pictures of other people's kids online.
  • All that stuff.

It's going to be hard. It's going to be uncomfortable. It's going to be a grind.

It's going to be successful - IF you want it more than you want your short-term drugs.

Here's to your success in 2013!

-Chris Butterworth