Losing weight, changing jobs, saving money, making money, a new relationship, getting in shape, going back to school, or giving up smoking, are just some of the goals people set for themselves on January 1.
Although it's possible for anyone to make a change or a new start, it takes determination, commitment, and persistence. A new goal must be your own. You have to really want it.
Without a burning desire, your motivation will fade quickly. It's virtually impossible to make a change due to external pressure.
You may agree to what someone else wants you to do, but it's very difficult to succeed without an internal drive. So, in order to successfully make a change or reach a goal, you have to make sure it's what you really want.
Don't start off on the wrong foot by making excuses as to why you will probably fail. If you don't truly believe you can do it, you won't. People who do this will say something like, "I'll try to do it, but...”
Or you may hear, "I tried before and it didn't work, but I'll give it another go." Before you begin, make sure the only things you are telling yourself are, "I can," "I will" and "I will do whatever it takes."
A new beginning is a three-step process. You have to first know what you want, formulate a plan to achieve it, and then take the necessary action to get it. Setting a specific goal is essential.
The more detailed the better. If you want to lose weight, how much and by when? If you want a new job, what will it be and how much will it pay? If you want to save money, how much and how often?
Next, you need a plan. Just like your goal, your plan must be as detailed as possible. If you are going to lose weight, what will be your menu each week? Are you going to go on a specific diet, cut out certain foods, or just eat less?
For finding a new job, what will be your strategy? Do you need a new resume? Will you look on line, in the classifieds, use an employment agency, network, cold call, or all of these? If you want to save more money, in what areas will you cut back? Do you know where your money is going? Have you created a budget?
You want your plan to be doable. The smaller the steps are, the more likely you will be to succeed. Any time you feel a step is too big, break it down further. It doesn't matter how small each step is so long as you keep going and never give up.
Losing 20 pounds may feel overwhelming, but dropping two pounds a month doesn't seem too bad. If you keep at it for 10 months, you will reach your goal. Saving $3,000 might appear beyond reach, but cutting back $9 a day on family spending is manageable.
Finally, you must take action. The best goals and greatest plans will go nowhere without action. The reason you divided your plan into small sections is so it would be easy to take action, one day at a time. All you have to do is keep going, until you achieve your goal.
Bryan Golden is the author of Dare to Live Without Limits.