How to Give Yourself the Best Shot at Accomplishing Your New Year’s Plans

The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.
–Lao Tzu

Ok, anyone else want to gag? It’s January 3…72 hours into the new year. How many 1000 mile journeys have we already begun this year? I mean, seriously…

Walking Alone…Through The Snow

I know I can manage a single step. I can do it! I’m building myself up. I have the power! One step will lead to another step, which will lead to a third step, and before I even realize, I’m sure I’ll have traveled 300 miles or so…

And that’s almost 1000, right?

We all start with the best of intentions. We all start saying “This year, it’s going to be different…” But is it? How many years are we going to talk about this being the year, and I’ll never let that happen again, and no one can stop me, and no mountain is too high, and kiss these 15 extra pounds goodbye.

And I can do it!

Ok, let’s just stop. We’re at the point in the New Year where the energy and enthusiasm for all those changes we were going to make has begun to wane. The thought has begun to creep into our minds that maybe, just maybe the way we have always been isn’t so bad…we can stay this way a little longer. It will be ok.

And you know what? It will be ok.

But here’s the thing, what if ok isn’t what we’re called to be? What if ok falls short of awesome? What if you could be awesome if it weren’t for all of those stupid resolutions?

Here’s my theory: we make all these promises to ourselves at the beginning of a new year about how everything is going to be different. We’re going to make changes. We’re going to be better than ok. But we do it on a whim, and we try to do it by ourselves. We’re going to be ok on our own efforts…and no one can tell us otherwise. It never works. It’s not bad, and it’s certainly not a disaster, but it’s not the changed live that fills our dreams.

How about a dose of reality…Going on the way we’ve always gone on is–for the most part–ok. Most of us have pretty good lives. Nothing bad–or at least nothing too bad–would happen if we just kept on doing what we’re currently doing. (Now, if your life is a disaster or you’re in danger, the rest of this post still might apply to you, but the urgency level should go WAY up…you NEED to follow the advice I’m about to give.)

But if you really want to make a change, here’s what has to happen: Find someone to go on the journey with you. You can NOT go alone. Admittedly, I’m biased…I think that person should be a coach. But even if it’s not, the journey of 1000 miles begins when TWO (or more) people take the first step. So, who’s going with you?

Here’s why this works: nobody has high levels of motivation all the time. Nobody can see the next step every time out. Nobody knows the right thing to say in every situation. I’d guess–and this is only a guess–that most of us hit the nail on the head between 50 and 70% of the time. Better than half, but certainly not 100% of the time.

BUT…when you put two or more people with success rates like that on the same journey, your chances go way up. Motivation is much easier to come by. Vision becomes clearer. Encouraging words become the norm and not the exception. Everything seems easier.

But we still launch out on all these New Year, New Me Projects all by ourselves. Every. Single. Year.

Why do we do that?

As you find your motivation for your new year changes flagging, ask yourself:
- How bad would it be if I stayed the same?
- What’s the worst that could happen if I do?

If you can’t stay the same, a couple more questions come to mind:
- What are your next steps?
- And who’s going to make them with you–as a partner, a participant, a coach, or as a cheerleader?

Originally published at Jonathan Reitz, MCC.