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A New Year ... a New Action Plan?

The New Year is traditionally a time when people make resolutions for change. They vow to lose weight, quit smoking, drink less, get fit or any number of good intentions … the problem comes in execution, because change is hard, and most people don’t have the willpower to stick it out.

So … how can you effect change in a meaningful way and actually do it?

1. You need goals and a plan to reach them.
2. The goal needs to be achievable and the plan realistic … based on your knowledge of yourself.
3. Achieving small goals, and rewarding yourself before moving on to the next goal is one way that people “stay with the program”. Celebrating success is a great way to reinforce a habit!

Back in December 2006 I wrote a blog entry called Goals … 2006 Wrap-up and 2007 Planning. In that entry I suggest that you set some goals in the various areas of your life … I suggested the following areas, but you can determine what works for you:

– Health and Fitness
– Vacation
– Career
– Family
– Training/Education

By keeping things simple you can develop very achievable goals, and set yourself up for success.

For example if you would like to get into better shape you could start with a plan that says you will take a brisk walk after dinner 4 evenings a week for the next 4 weeks.

If you are able to meet that goal, then you might add another walk a week … or perhaps decide to walk up the stairs to work instead of taking an elevator, or maybe set a goal that you will not use the car for any trip under a mile, for the next 4 weeks.

Now you will have 8 weeks of additional exercise and have started to develop a pattern of success, should actually be feeling better about yourself and you can add to that as you like.

Another example might be in the area of training and education. Many of us will have best intentions to take courses or improve ourselves in some way. Again, using the KISS principle you could start by subscribing to a trade newsletter and reading it once a week. If that works, then you could add 30 minutes of work related reading 3 nights a week, and once you are seeing results you can determine what comes next.

The most important thing is to actually DO SOMETHING! Far too many people live their lives on cruise control, by setting goals and creating a action plan you are actually driving your life … and that feels good!