Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sticking With Your New Year's Goals

So it's two weeks into a glorious new year. How is 2011 going for you so far? How are those new year's goals and resolutions holding up?

To really make a new habit stick, I've heard that you need to do it consistently for three weeks, and then it much more likely to be a permanent part of your routine.

But, as we all know, new habits set with the best of intentions can be difficult to stick to. Especially in the hectic weeks of a new year after coming back from a holiday break. Especially in the frigid January snow. Especially when there are so many other, important things clamoring for your attention.

I'm a big believer in daily goals, and I'm also a big believer in baby steps. Break down something that seems huge into small steps you can take every day. Just do a little bit every day. Consistently. Baby steps add up to huge accomplishments.

Here's a motivation tool I found, courtesy of the wonderful positive-news site Gimundo, that has been helping me with my goal of writing a certain number of words every day: Joe's Goals. It's supposedly inspired by a motivation concept of Jerry Seinfeld, with the simple idea: Don't break the chain. You enter a goal you want to do consistently -- every day, three times a week, etc -- and it is marked down on this calendar for you. Every day, if you do the goal, you get to check it off. Your checks soon become a chain of happy green check marks, and the last thing you want to do is "break the chain" and have to start all over again! It sounds simple, but it has really helped me stay on top of my writing goal so far.

Case in point: last night, I got home late, and I hadn't written enough yet for my word count goal, so I plunked down in front of my computer and wrote some before I went to bed. All so I could truthfully have that little green check mark. If not for that website, I very likely would have thought, I'll just write more tomorrow. But, as my role model Coach Wooden used to say, "You can't do anything about yesterday, and the only way to improve tomorrow is by what you do right now. We kid ourselves: 'I'll buckle down tomorrow and work twice as hard.' No. If you can work twice as hard tomorrow, it means you're holding something back today. I want 100% today. And tomorrow."

Of course, it requires that you be honest with yourself, but I think that is a requirement no matter how you are going after your goals.

Good luck! I'm rooting for you!

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