Five steps to keeping your resolutions
As the new year unfolds, loved ones and friends from across the globe wish me a "Happy New Year".
If only happiness would fall into my lap every time someone wished me that, I would have enough to last me for years.
Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. I've learned happiness is more an outcome of what I do, rather than the result of a simple wish. It is a by-product of the time I invest in my relationships, the hard work I put into building a career or business, and the discipline I bring to my physical or financial fitness.
That's why if you intend 2014 to be a truly a happy year, you must begin by asking yourself: What is it that you want to happen to make it a happy year? Then you must scribble down a list of goals which everyone calls "New Year's resolutions".
I know it's not easy to find the time to make New Year's resolutions, let alone keep them. Years of practice, though, have actually taught me five simple steps on how to create New Year's resolutions and make them happen:
Step 1: Make a list of goals and pick the ones to focus on
Write down as many goals as you want, and then choose the ones to focus on this year. Considering all the other stuff in life you need to do, a year is hardly enough for all the great things you want to accomplish. So, it's best to choose to work on only a few goals, and to do them well.
Step 2: Create a "fulfillment plan" for each goal
Writing a list of goals without an action plan is an exercise in wishful thinking. When you decide to pursue a goal, you must write down the steps you need to carry out to achieve that goal.
Then, after each task, set a day or time you must devote to carrying it out. It's good to set a deadline, too. Making your goals time-bound will keep you disciplined and focused.
Step 3: Anticipate the roadblocks and find ways to avoid them
One of the most likely reasons people give up on their resolutions is because they can't anticipate the roadblocks before they hit them.
Some of these roadblocks could be your inability to manage your time, the temptation to do other stuff that you didn't plan, distractions and over-commitment. Eliminate these roadblocks, remember what you want to get accomplished and keep your focus.
Step 4: Visualising the rewards
The best way to get motivated is to keep in mind the benefits that come with accomplishing the goal. For example, what do you get when you lose, say 20 kilos? You will look and feel better, get into a size 10 outfit again, and perhaps even confidently wear your togs for a summer outing.
Step 5: Take stock of your progress
Always review your goals after a period of time and tick off the tasks you've done. Seeing how far you've gone can be very inspiring. I always look at my plan once every three months and if I'm not keeping up, I get re-organised and keep pressing on, bearing in mind that it's not over until the year is over.
Happy is what you make it. One way to begin is to create your New Year's resolutions and work hard at fulfilling them.