We are a week into the new year. you are most likely still on track for making your new year resolution happen, if you made one. According to a research 73% of people who make new year resolution stick to their plan for the 1st week. this percentage drops down to 59% by the end of 1st month. So how can we make sure we stick to our new year resolutions, what ever they are.
there are few simple action plans that you can take right now, without spending hours, which will help you stick to your plan longer and achieve better results. There is a reason why I waited till the first week of the year ends, before writing this article. By now you have a week of data to work with. you know what worked and what did not work, so you can plan better and with more confidence.
before reading the rest of this article, go a head grab a pen and paper, or if you are computer savvy, open up a blank note page so you can follow me step by step.
write down your new year resolution. at this point it does not matter how detailed your goal is, just write down what you would like to achieve this year. for example, Loose 50 lbs, eat healthy, spend more time with family, land a better paying job, Take a vacation over the seas, ……… etc.
The reality is that the 41% of the people, who give up on their new year resolution by the end of January, probably get stuck in this step and don’t go any further. But not you, because you know where to go from here. you go to step 2 🙂
write down what you did the first week of January to get you closer to your resolution. If your goal is to loose 50 lbs, what did you do the first week to get you closer to your goal? did you eat healthier? did you cut down your calories? did you start a new workout routine? did you start drinking more water? what did you do? write down in details every thing you did.
If your goal is to get a better paying job, did you take any new courses to advance in your career? did you look for new jobs? what did you do to improve your chances?
You get the point, what actions did you take?
write down how you felt at the end of each day or at the end of the week. Do you have any food cravings? Do you feel happy or angry? Do you feel tired and burnt down or energized? Do you have second thoughts about your goals? do you see any progress? are you happy with your progress? Do you see your self continuing at this paste for the rest of the year?
If your answers to the above question are satisfactory, then perfect. Make what you did the first week as the blue print (action point) for the week 2 of the year. Go to step 5.
If your answers to the questions in step 3 were not satisfactory after the 1st week or at any time during the year, then move to step 4.
write down what you think is the reason behind your unsatisfactory response. For example, if you have food cravings, what foods are you craving for? how often where you eating that specific food that you are craving? May be you should cut that specific food out of your diet at a slower paste. if you were eating pizza 5 days a week, and now you are cutting it down completely, of course you will have cravings for it. try going to 3 days a week instead of 5 and slowly, when you feel comfortable at this level, reduce it to 2, 1, and none.
If you are unsatisfied with your results, could it be because your goal was to aggressive and unrealistic and you should break down your goal into smaller chunks or give your self more time?
If you feel tired and burnt down, could it be because you are sacrificing your rest and sleep to achieve your goal? You probably need to find a better and more suitable time to work on your goal, so you are not sacrificing your sleep. For example, if you have been getting up at 5 am to workout, but that leaves you with only 6 hours of sleep, you need to see if you can push back your workout to 6 or 7 so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep, or if you have to go to work and pushing your workout to later in the morning is not an option, see if you can go to bed earlier or do your workout after work in the evening.
You get the point, you know your own situation better than any one else. the point is to be flexible, visit and revisit your goal and your progress every week and make changes as necessary.
Looking at your responses to steps 2, 3 and 4 make a blue print with small, measurable and actionable items. Deciding on actionable items at this point is much easier, because you have one week of experience and you have a better idea of what is realistic for you to do in a week. revisit this blue print at the end of each week and make any adjustments as needed keeping in mind your final goal. Remember flexibility is the key hear.
For example, If your goal was to lose 50 lbs by the end of the year and you would like to lose about 1 lb a week, and you were seeing the result for the first few weeks and all the sudden your weight has been going up again, and you are doing every thing the same as you were previously. It is time to look at your blue print. If one of your actions was to consume 1500 calories a day to loose the extra weight, maybe it is time to readjust that. Our bodies are smart and they catch up with our eating habits very quickly and try to adapt. If you have been cutting your calories down and been loosing weight for the first few weeks and now you are not loosing weight any more, could be because now your body has adapted to your new eating habit and has slowed down metabolism, hence less calorie burned. If you have been loosing the extra weight by adding a working out and all the sudden you notice a weight gain instead of weight loss, Maybe you are gaining the weight because you are building muscle. As you know 1 lb of fat takes a lot more space than 1 lb of muscle. therefore, you should take a look at your goal and blue print again and change the criteria a bit. May be add waist circumference, body fat %, and other measurements to it.
Make adjustment to your main goal as necessary. Put your goals on hold for a short period of time if necessary, but don’t give up on your resolution. Sometimes you start your journey and every thing goes as planned, and you follow all the required steps and your blue print works flawless, but in the middle of the way you get stuck. You keep doing what you were doing before, but you are not seeing the results or even worst your results gets reversed and you feel like you are going backward.
For example, if your goal was to spend more time with family and you have been achieving this by hiring an assistance to help you with your work load or delegating your tasks to your team, so you can leave work on time, and now all the sudden a new opportunity in your work or business has come up that requires more of your time spend at work. It is time to revisit your goal, maybe you need to hire another assistant or put other projects at work on hold and focus on this new opportunity. may be you will talk to your family that you need to spend more time at work and less with them for a limited time and then get back to your goal.
Repeat, document, and adjust. Basically at the end of each week start from step 2 and repeat this exercise. Once you get the initial blue print ( action points) set, this should not take you more than 5 minutes each week, but will ensure your success. with out reflecting and documenting your progress, how on earth do you expect to stick to your goal and achieve the result that you were looking for. Documentation and reflection are the only ways that you can find out about your mistakes, what works and what does not work for you.
Happy New year,
Stay happy and healthy,