New Year…Same You?

How do we break away from bad habits? Especially when one is bad resolutions or goals to begin with.

Every year we see the same statistics about New Year’s resolutions being broken. Over half of them are broken in 6 months. What prevents us from becoming the best we can be? Why do we stay in these recurring cycles? Why do we stress so much over being the perfect person? What drives us to be better?

These are the consistent questions that I ask every New Year’s Day. After a night of fun and a weekend of reflection- I have taken the time to set my path for the year for myself and my company, EnLab. I wanted to share with all of you so that we can grow together.

Problem 1 — We set too high of a bar

To me, most of us are way too optimistic with our time estimates. We think we can do way more in a shorter amount of time than we actually can.

My Solution - These techniques aren’t new by any stretch of the imagination, but are proven tactics. Create an action plan the following ways:

  1. Get real with yourself and your planning. Set one big overall goal for the year. This goal must be clear and precise, with a definition of the positive outcome from that achieving it. In other words, define the why of each overarching goal.
  2. Break the large goal down into more actionable items. Each goal needs to be moved into smaller quarterly goals and subsequently monthly, weekly, and maybe even daily goals. By making the goal easier to digest you are much more likely to act. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.

Problem 2— Going it Alone

Things are much more difficult when you don’t have a support group or people to talk with about your struggles who can empathize.

My Solution — This is a very easy approach to understand. Don’t go alone. You can, but share your action plan with someone else so it doesn’t exist only in your head and you’re accountable to your plan.

  1. Find a support group with friends. When you have someone who can empathize with your struggle and help you with some solutions to roadblocks that they’ve had — it stands to reason that you’re more likely to succeed. Team up with with your friend, business partner, co-worker, or significant other. Two heads are better than one after all. We should also understand the value of having someone to be accountable to.
  2. Create your action plan together. Now that we all can agree that two heads are better than one—we should also understand the value of planning along with someone. It’s important to do this with someone that knows you pretty well. Well enough to know what your capabilities are and can give you honest, real feedback if you’re stretching too far, etc.

Problem 3— Healthy Habits

This sounds vague and like a goal in itself. However, establishing healthy habits is really key to pulling all of this off.

My Solution — Healthy habits is really putting yourself in position to follow through.

  1. Set meetings with your support group. Set times to check in with the support group mentioned earlier. It’s probably best to start weekly. Then after about a month of you following through on your goal, you can move to monthly then possibly quarterly meetings if you have enough discipline.
  2. Instill your own self-discipline. Break down your weekly goals into daily goals if you must. One method that I like to deploy to instill discipline for the day is the post-it note method as described perfectly by Daniel Burka here in this tweet-

One big thing, Three medium things, and some small stuff. The big thing should be one thing that if you got done today you would feel accomplished. The three medium things are smaller items, and the small stuff is well just that- things that aren’t as pressing but tiny things you can get done if everything else is done or you have just a few minutes.

I hope this helps you all with your goals in this new year!

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