New Year’s resolutions are like traffic. As the driver, your focus is intent while trying to “get there;” you see others pass you by; you get held up at a red light that slows down progress. Distractions such as the radio, crazy drivers, cellphones (in some states) preclude you from focusing on the one thing you should: the road ahead. In other words, New Year’s resolutions come and go, ebb and flow, only to be revisited the following year.
So how do you adopt a new habit to make it stick?
It has been said that the only certainty in life is uncertainty; change is the one “thing” we can all count on to always be there—and that guy Murphy always seems to be leading the charge.
With New Year’s (Resolution) eve just around the corner, many people want to inspire themselves to become better but don’t for two reasons: they don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to do it.
To fill the inspiration gap, here are four goal-setting ideas to spur that (sleepy) motivation monster inside:
Goal: Improve time management.
Why: To make more money, duh!
How: Make a list of daily distractions. It might help to journalize throughout the course of a day or week, the attention grabbers that deter you from your work. Now delete them. Of course, you’ll have to weigh out the risk of doing so. If office “fires” tend to arise out of nowhere, block off an hour of “white space” on your calendar every day to ensure you get the personal time you need.
Goal: Read a book per month.
Why: Knowledge is powerful (sharing knowledge is true power. Just saying.)
How: Download Amazon kindle to your smartphone (I’m assuming you have one. After all, it is almost 2015) so you can read anywhere and everywhere you go. Take advantage of those little slivers of time throughout the day to educate yourself and stay current on knowledge and industry trends.
Goal: Workout at least three times a week.
Why: Exercise is an all-in-one source for personal improvement. Studies show that exercise reduces stress, reverses the effects of aging, increases memory retention, increases heart health, and helps you look good at the beach (do I really need to cite these studies?).
How: Decide on one of three routines:
- Workout before work
- Workout at lunchtime during work
- Workout immediately after work.
Studies also show that people who workout in the morning are more likely to stick with their new routine because they’re less lethargic at the end of the day.
If you’re a beginner, start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much exercise too soon. Ease into the routine and if at first it seems like too much, back off a day. Find a routine that’s manageable and then build from there. Once your mind and body get used to a two or three day a week routine, you can either increase the duration of those workouts or add more training days to your regimen.
Goal: Eat better (and by “better” I mean healthy).
Why: Because heart disease is the number one killer in America, and we (as a society) sure don’t help the cause by “supersizing” our food portions, working longer hours, and taking less vacation days.
How: Pack a lunch. Instead of going out for a burger at lunch, bring your own food so you know how much of what (i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, fat) you’re about to ingest. If lunchtime is part of company culture, eat a healthy snack before going out so you don’t overindulge in garbage.
It may seem like a long road to adopt a new habit, but just think how fast 2014 passed us by. How do you want to feel at the end of 2015?
Share with us your views in the comments below.
Written by Jeff Boss; a personal coach, CrossLeader at the McChrystal Group, board member of SEAL Future Fund, and author of the forthcoming Navigating Chaos: How to Find Certainty in Uncertain Situations. Extracted from Forbes magazine.