Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.
– Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, December 1755
Throughout 2007, Richard Wiseman (Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire) and his team tracked over 3,000 people’s New Year’s Eve resolutions. While the majority of those canvassed were convinced in the beginning that they would be successful, the study showed that only 12% actually achieved their goal during the following year.
Usually, resolutions for the new year sound something like this:
I will lose weight.
I will drink less alcohol.
I will eat healthier.
I will get a better education.
I will find a more fulfilling job.
I will quit smoking.
I will save money.
The interesting thing is that none of these have an end date or finish line. And, they really aren’t very specific goals after all because they don’t provide you with a clear path to success. In fact, these are neither sustainable solutions nor actionable answers to Life’s challenges. While we like to half-seriously, half-jokingly talk about resolutions, these are not resolutions at all. What you’ve voiced in the past are nothing more than shadowy declarations of desire – vows of your hope for a future, preferred outcome. Because these is constant befuddlement as to the distinction between goals and deeds, most well-intentioned people never reach their chosen destinations.
A sincere goal is the destination you want to reach, the score you are keeping, and the conclusion you are shooting for. Most New Year’s Resolutions are really goals.
A true resolution provides the precise techniques and proper paths you are going to specifically follow to accomplish your sincere goal.
So what is the secret formula to turning your New Year’s Hopes into New Year’s Achievements and getting your heart’s desire? Read on!
STEP ONE: DEDICATE YOURSELF TO A DESIRE
This is the easiest part because you’ve already been doing this. This is what you used to call a New Year’s Resolution. You’ve actually been talking about desires – not resolutions – for years. This the big plan you want to accomplish. It is the new beginning you crave. It is the situation you want to be in or the person you want to be with. This is the time to dream big. This is the step where you get to declare that your preferred future is a possibility, your vision is clear, and your potential unstoppable!
STEP TWO: AFFIRM YOUR BIG DESIRE BY WRITING IT DOWN
[NOTE: This is where most people stop and their dreams are never achieved. If you want a true New Year’s Resolution, then quickly move to Step Three!]
STEP THREE: ESTABLISH GROUND ZERO FOR YOUR DREAMS
Declare that you are going after various targets that will move you closer to your stated desire throughout the coming year. Using the I will lose weight example from above, your ground zero targets might look something like this (naturally, your actual strategy will be different):
[ ] January 1 – December 31: Lose 4 pounds per month.
[ ] January 1: Change my eating routine to include 500 calorie breakfast, 500 calorie lunch, 500 calorie dinner, with two 250 calorie snacks in between
[ ] March 1: Add 100 sit-ups each day to my daily routine
[ ] June 1: Add 240 jumping jacks each day to my daily routine
[ ] July 1: Add 2.5 mile walk three times per week
[ ] September 1: Add 20 push-ups to my daily routine
[ ] October 1: Increase my push-ups to 50
[ ] November 1: Increase my push-ups to 100
[ ] December 1: Rejoice at what I have accomplished and move into maintenance mode!
STEP FOUR: CREATE A SOLEMN PLEDGE TO BEHAVE IN YOUR CHOSEN WAY
Did you know that one of the earliest forms of New Year’s Resolutions was called The Vow of the Peacock. It involved knights of the realm placing their hands on a peacock – a symbol of immortality – and renewing their vows of chivalry. This is the step wherein you promise yourself (and perhaps others) that you will do things! This is where you dedicate yourself to knocking down all the targets you established in Step Three! It is the doing of these deeds that will let you achieve your Step One dream. These are the true and faithful resolutions to which you must consecrate your heart and soul.
The secret formula for making your New Year’s Desires achievable, fulfilling, and thus irresistible all comes together with you doing success – not just wishing for it!
Happy New Year! I can’t wait to hear about the dreams you have set for yourself AND the steps you have invented to make those wishes into a reality!
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