The New Year can be just a random change in the space-time continuum, or you can use it as an opportunity for resetting your course to one that will bring you more happiness and fulfillment. But the joke people love to make about New Year’s Resolutions is that by the second day of the month you’ve usually already broken them. Here are some tips for actually following through on your good intentions.
Draw Your Dream
I’ve been doing this for a while, both for myself and with other people and found it extraordinarily effective. It’s helped people land their ideal job, find partners or dates, play their first gig to a big audience and even magic some puppies into their life.
You simply draw what it is that you want, in us much colour and detail as you can, and imagine what it would feel like to have it. Patti Dobrowolski describes one method of doing it in this TEDx talk. Just the process of committing to paper what it is you really want is very helpful and indeed fun!
Patti suggests to committing to three bold steps towards your dream. In order to follow them through, it really helps to ask someone to hold you account to taking those steps by a particular deadline. As Tim Ferris points out in this blog about productivity, humans are horrible at self-discipline. He suggests creating an Odysseus contract, so named because Odysseus had his sailors tie him to the mast to resist the temptation of the Sirens.
What if not completing your actions meant you had to make a donation to your least favourite political party? Or go to work naked, like Gary Lineker?!
A friend and I text each other things we’re grateful for each day, and it’s kept us doing it for about two years so far.
Create very easy habits
When you set a goal, one of the best ways of achieving it is to set up a habit that will get you there in small increments. If you want to earn a certain income, then maybe you commit to a number of sales calls per day. If you want to run marathon, you commit to running three times per week.
Where a lot of people go wrong with habits, is starting too big, not sticking to it, and then giving up. I’ve written before about BJ Fogg who suggest making your habit comically tiny – if you want to start flossing he says, make your goal to floss ONE tooth. It really does work! It got me flossing and my friend James too. If you want to start running, maybe your habit is just to put your trainers on in the morning and take them off again!
Instead of trying to meditate for ten minutes in the morning, try just doing it for one. The idea is that the hardest part is starting, and over time you gradually increase your habit to the full mouth.
Call to Action
If you like the idea of doing this and would like to be guided through the process, then you might like to join my very first webinar: Creating My Dream 2017. We’ll be drawing our visions, breaking them down into small steps and holding each other to account in taking them.