This morning I heard the following conversation between two people:

Did you make a New Year’s resolution?”

Yes.”

“What was it?”

“To lose weight.”

“What was your resolution the year before?”

“The same.”

“And the year before that?

Laughingly: “For the last five years I’ve made the same resolution and I still haven’t managed to do it.

If this sounds familiar then I suggest you do the following:

Grab your list, or if you haven’t made one, make one right now.

What you have now before you before you is just a wish list. Now with the following steps we move from a wish list to a plan:

1. Pick just one resolution, let’s say something that you would like to get done by the end of the first quarter. Ignore or hide the other items on your list for now. Why? The amount of mental energy our brain has is limited. Instead of dispersing the available energy on several objectives we focus that energy on one objective at a time.

2. Check the formulation of the resolution. “I want to lose some weight” is not good enough. “Why do you want to lose weight? What is it that you want to achieve?” Reformulate the objective so that you have a clear picture of the desired results.

3. Next come three important words:

  • ­HOW?: Let’s say your objective is to raise your general fitness in order to increase your energy level and lust for life. This would usually involve an exercise program as well as a specific diet. Now do your research and get professional advise. Now write down the required steps in the sequence that you’re going to do them in.
  • WHEN?: This will become your plan. Begin by deciding on a start and end date. Next assign a date for each of the above steps. Write these down in your calendar. Set measurable milestones and note these in your calendar. For example, if your objective is to swim 5 km by the end of the first quarter you start with how many km are you swimming now and how many you have to do next week and the week after that and so forth. At the end of every week review your progress. Not happy with how it’s going? At this point most people give up. “It’s not working.” The key is to adjust your plan so that it does work. “Beyond the point of failure there is success” (Napoleon Hill).
  • WHERE?: Your physical location often needs to be considered when choosing your objective. “I want to be more fit.” Are there facilities, such as a health club within reach?  “ I want to learn to play the moonlight sonata perfectly.” OK, where’s a piano? You get the idea.

So now having answered HOW, WHEN and WHERE and plotted the steps in time to get there, you have a plan.

That’s the easy part.

Now it’s time to do it!

But discipline! I don’t know if I have what it takes?”

Find someone to do it with, a buddy or partner with a similar objective. Support each other or do as a person I spoke to today, hire a Lifestyle coach.

Yes but I have no buddy nor do I wish to spend money to hire someone.”

Kerry Gleeson, the originator of the PEP® Program, jogged every day of his adult life. He said to me: “I hate jogging but it is the most practical exercise for me to do to stay fit. I can do it anywhere. All I need to take with me when I travel is shorts, a T-shirt and running shoes. I get up every morning and go for a run without thinking about it. No discipline is required because it has become a routine.”

Once you start making perceptible gains, your motivation to continue will be positively reinforced.

Come to a flat spot in your progress? Take a moment to reflect. You’ve come this far and you may need to adjust your plan in order to continue towards your objective.

As you progress it’s important to maintain focus on the end goal and the benefits it will bring to you.

“And when I’ve reached my objective?”

Take your list of resolutions and pick your next objective and start the same process again.

Why is it that some people do reach their objectives in life and others not?

The answer is in the above steps.

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