In the spirit of the holidays, I’ve decided to get a head start on my New Year’s Resolutions:
“I resolve to write every day, learn the guitar, and teach myself conversational French.”
Now, lofty goals are my specialty, but the building blocks of routine, practice, discipline, and habit are where the true success is born (and also where I’m lacking!). I quickly realized that in order to have successful resolutions, I will likely need to change up some of my habits. Thoreau said it best: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
So, in order to prepare the foundation, I did some research and came upon some extremely helpful reminders, motivators, and tools that I believe will benefit anyone who is trying to jumpstart their New Year’s Resolutions. After reading through these, I hope you’ll find yourself primed for the New Year and ready to build your castles, piece by piece.
Get Your Head in the Game
Similar to athletes, you have to be willing to channel your inner stressors and turn any negative thoughts into motivators. Stress often comes when there is something that we fear losing control over, and is generally centered on the things we care about the most.
Tom Graham, former Olympic athlete and research coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan says, “The worries, concerns, doubts and fears are really the major monkey wrench issues that prevent achieving an ideal performance state or positive frame of mind before competition”. He mentions that the repetition of positive thinking patterns can quickly turn into positive results; likewise, negative thinking can produce equally negative results. Therefore, manifest yourself achieving and you’ll do just that.
It’s important to realize that you might have to change some habits, bad or good, to achieve any goal. That’s why baby steps are the perfect metaphor – you’re relearning how to do something. Starting with step one is easier than trying to jump in head first. Ask yourself what you can do to better achieve your goals and resist temptation.
Write it Down
Steven Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, mentions that visualizing our goals and writing them down makes us more apt to achieve them: “The more you write down your goals, the clearer they become in your mind and the more you believe they are attainable. The more they become attainable in your mind, the more you are willing to overcome the obstacles that will come in the way.”
Get a Partner
Holding yourself accountable is easier said than done. Finding someone else to hold you to your word can be a powerful (and dangerous) tool. Either find someone to jump on the bandwagon with you, or find those who can act as coaches and advocates to share your aspirations with.
There’s an App for That
When all else fails – get yourself a digital helper. There seems to be an app for everything these days, and I’m all for it (anything that makes our lives easier, right?). The apps that I’ve found the best for keeping motivated and organizing aren’t just mobile to-do lists, they are high-powered reminders, motivators, and even have game-like and social networking qualities to them.
MyFitnessPal – Food Accountability At Its Best. This app allows you to pick from a healthy array of foods within their database and keep track of what you’ve consumed, as well as hold yourself accountable with other friends and family members who have the app. This also helps you see your progress with weight loss and exercise, shows the calories you’ve consumed and burned, and teaches you that what you consume is for fueling the body. Most foods, including meals from major restaurant chains, are there at your fingertips.
Evernote – My Favorite App Ever. This app allows you to capture information and keep it all organized and in sync with your multiple devices. It aggregates information from voice notes, photos, web pages, text, emails,PDF documents, scans, and many other types of media all into a single note in a category of your choosing. These notes can then be sent to and shared with others, or saved for you to take a look at later on.
Any.do – The Optimist’s Digital Life Coach. This app is highly linear in its design, much like a to-do list, but the difference is it offers you motivational sayings and empowers you to be better after you’ve accomplished items on your list. What happens if you miss something? Well, it only pushes you to go-get-‘em with its spirited, can-do attitude.
Last, but not least: don’t forget to forgive yourself if you fall off the wagon. We cannot control the unknown. So, if at first you don’t succeed, dust your shoulders off and try again.