Happy New Year! I wish you every happiness, health and success in this year.
2018 brings us new opportunities so lets face the New Year with optimism. We can make this year what we want it to be. We just need to turn our compelling vision of what we want 2018 to be like into real actions.
Yesterday I took you through how to create a compelling vision of what we want our life to be like in twelve months time. And I showed you how to break that vision down into some simple goals – or New Year resolutions.
The question now is, how do we make sure we actually achieve those goals and resolutions, rather than conveniently forget them sometime during January?
Once again, the Success Cycle is the key. In this post I am going to take you through Steps 3 & 5. Yes, I am going to miss out Step 4 and make it the subject of a separate post.
Step 3 – my plan for achieving my New Year resolutions
Being committed to a resolution, or goal, is not enough. We have to do something. Normally we have to change something too – perhaps our habits, circumstances, lifestyle.
The best way to make sure we do these things and make these changes is to have a very simple plan.
All a plan does is tell us, in advance and related specifically to each goal, who will do what by when and with what. Lets break that down.
Who will – well if we are talking of your New Year resolutions the who has to be you.
Do what – what are the actual tasks and activities that you will do to achieve your resolution or goal?
By when – what is your deadline?
With what – what resources, such as time or money, do you require?
It helps if the plan has a series of milestones. These are like stepping stones between the start of the plan and its conclusion, when you will meet the goal. But more of that in Step 5.
So, lets create an example, based up my resolution to be fit and healthy in 2018. In fact I broke this down into four goals that effectively give me my measures of success. They were:
I can go about my daily activities without difficulty or health problems
I can walk at least 15,000 steps each day
I am free of pain in knees and legs
Reduced sizes for shirts, trousers and jackets (I have defined these for my own benefit).
My overall approach for achieving these results is to “eat less and exercise more”. I am fully aware of my lifestyle and how my current habits are probably exactly the opposite. I will deal with how to change habits in Step 4.
For now, what specifically will I build into my plan? OK, here we go.
start wearing an activity tracker and establish a baseline for my daily activities
weigh myself daily
cut out sweets and desserts, except for fresh fruit
drink more water
go for a short morning walk twice a week
expect to see a weight reduction of at least 7 lb since January
resources required – I already possess the equipment but need to change some habits.
set incremental goals and targets for my activities and measure progress using my activity tracker
reduce carbs (potatoes, etc) and increase proteins
go for a morning walk every two days
expect to see a weight reduction of at least 10 lb since January
increase my activity goals and targets to see 10% improvement since January
reduce meal portions
increase walking distance
expect to see a weight reduction of at least 14 lb since January.
review eating and exercise habits and set goals and plan actions to achieve 20% improvement over 1/1/2018 by 30/6/2018
update plan for next three months to end of June.
The plan is not so detailed as to become cumbersome. And by replanning at intervals I can make sure the plan is always relevant to my progress. But it is broken into milestones. That brings us to Step 5, skipping over Step 4, at least for today.
Step 5 – monitoring my progress towards achieving my New Year resolutions
One of the ways in which the Success Cycle delivers success is that it has built in to it the means to keep us on track. The first of these is Step 5, monitoring progress. We don’t wait until we have started to think of how we monitor, we will build it in to our plan from the start.
A monitor is a means we will use to track the progress of our plan towards our goal. It answers the question, “have we done what we said we would do in our plan”?
A simple way of creating a monitor is to decide what data we are going to use to track progress, create a spreadsheet, take readings regularly and especially at the required milestones and record them in the spreadsheet.
If we can turn the spreadsheet into a simple graph, so much the better. Imagine a straight line connecting two points; the first being our measure or baseline at the start of our plan (for example my weight on 1st January) and the second being our target (for example, the weight I wish to be on 31st December). As we take our measures if they are above the line we are not making the progress we want and if they are below the line then we are doing well.
As we take our readings and track or monitor our progress we can adapt or fine tune our plan – and of course our actions – to make sure we keep on track to achieve our goal.
The trick is to take take readings often enough to be able to manage and control what we are doing but not so often that we don’t see any change. For my plan I will be using the following monitors:
my weight, measured daily
my resting heart rate, measured daily using my tracker
my steps walked, measured daily using my tracker
my levels of pain in my knees and legs, considered weekly (probably more often in fact) but recorded monthly
my shirt, trouser and jacket sizes, measured monthly
difficulties with daily activities or health problems, recorded in a written diary.
So, I have a clear vision, more detailed goals, a plan to achieve those goals and a means of monitoring my progress.
Tomorrow I will address the question, “how do I change my habits and actions to achieve my goals and make my plan a reality”?
Let me know if you want further support with achieving your goals.
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