A Four-Step PLAN to Successful New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions, otherwise known as "good intentions," are those things that are set at the beginning of the year when people feel they can wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start. It is said that 80% of all News Year’s resolutions fail. A survey conducted by Gail Kasper, LLC (www.gailkasper.com) finds that 51% of people don’t have New Year’s resolutions, and of those who do, 79% don’t have a plan to achieve them, leaving a small 9% of Americans serious about achieving their goals from the onset.

The truth is, resolutions can be accomplished. You just have to follow the four P.L.A.N. steps, and you can make your resolutions a success this year!

P = Prepare  Visualize what you want. Sit down and really think through what it is that you want to accomplish. Plan with the end goal in mind. Write your resolution/goal in the first person, as if it were already done. Set a deadline of when you want it accomplished. Write down the result of your accomplished goal and the reward you will give yourself when you meet it. Now, walk backward in your mind and write down at least three measurable mini-milestones. Do this so you can check your progress along the way. Prepare your mind and have a visual aid to keep in front of you so that you will be focused and committed in this year.

L = List  To be clear about the commitment you are taking on, make some key lists to support your efforts.

  • What personal behaviors need to change to make this goal a reality?
  • What steps will you have to take to make it happen?
  • What are the barriers that might prevent you from accomplishing your goal?
  • What will you have to stop doing to make your goal a success?
  • What is in your control and what is out of your control? What can you do about each?
  • What are the "costs" you will have to pay to accomplish this resolution (e.g., if you are trying to lose weight, forfeiting potato chips)?
  • What are your strengths and weakness? How can you utilize them or watch out for them?

Review your lists to make sure you are really willing to pay the cost, are committed to changing your behavior, and are ready to do what it will take to follow the plan.

A = Adjust  Assess your environment and decide what things you need to change. Your environment around you makes a difference in your ability to work towards and implement your goal. Look at what things in your environment could hold you back from your goals and what things in your environments can help you accomplish them. What do you need to add and what do you need to get rid of? Right now, actively make these changes so that your environments are ready to support you in accomplishing your resolution. (Your environment may include the following: relationships; feelings; thoughts; health; time; energy sources; personal space of home, office, or car; and other things that you surround yourself with.)

N = Network  Ensure that someone or something around you knows your goal and will help you measure your progress. There are many websites that help you track and assess your goals, including www.goals.com or http://sparkpeople.com/index.asp. Many other online tools that are topic specific work well. Perhaps you are more comfortable building a support system: either find someone who knows you well and with whom you are comfortable designing how they can support you, or arrange for an accountability buddy with whom you are in "competition" as you both strive to meet your respective goals.

When you use the four P.L.A.N. steps (PREPARE, LIST, ADJUST, and NETWORK) to outline your goals, you are setting yourself up for success. It is challenging to change behavior and that is what New Year’s resolutions usually are about.[1] But, when you are thorough and diligent about planning on the front end, you can almost guarantee results on the back end. Now, the only thing left to do is implement the PLAN! You can do it. Charge into 2006 and keep working on your PLAN.

 [1] COMMON RESOLUTIONS: Spend more time with family & friends; exercise more, lose weight or eat better; quit smoking; enjoy life more & have fun; quit drinking; get out of debt, stick to a budget, save or earn more money; learn something new; find a better job; help others; become a better person; be more patient at work and/or with others; get organized.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

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