We are just a few days away from the start of a new year. Believe me, I know everyone is excited to get 2020 over with and start fresh in 2021. But, 2021 isn’t going to magically be amazing. YOU have to make it amazing. The power is in your hands. What are you willing to commit to in order to be your best self this year?
The main problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they are too vague and lack a measurable action plan. For example, “I want to be healthier in 2021.” Great, but in what aspect? You want to be physically healthier? Mentally? How are you going to be healthier? By exercising? Eating cleaner? Another example would be, “I want to manage my time better.” Awesome, but how? What are the measurable actions you are willing to take to make this happen?
I am going to break this down for you step by step. It’s completely fine (and encouraged) to have the lofty big picture goal. Having that big picture goal brings us back to our 'why' and keeps us going when things get tough. However, I promise you that you won’t actually reach that goal unless you break it down into baby steps. I like to break down my goals into action plans consisting of daily disciplines and accountability measures. My daily disciplines include things I am committing to do every single day; measurable actions that contribute to my big picture goal. For my accountability, I physically track myself on paper with what I call my ‘Accountability Notebook’. For example, one of my goals for the last few months has been to slow down, be present, and be mindful. I will show you below how I break that apart.
Goal: Slow down, be present, and be mindful
Daily disciplines: Eating slowly and mindfully without any distractions (slowing down and mindfulness), phone away when I am spending time with others (presence), GOWOD mobility session (slowing down), reading before bed (slowing down)
Accountability: Did I do my stretching today (yes/no)? Did I read before bed (yes/no)? On a scale 1-10 how well did I practice mindful eating? On a scale 1-10 how present was I today?
The yes/no questions are easy to stat for yourself – you either did it or you didn’t. However, in order to use the ranking system, you have to determine what a 10 would be to you. For me, a 10 for mindful eating would be that I ate every single meal that day slowly without any distractions whatsoever. I enjoyed every bite. I listened to my body and stopped eating when it was satisfied. A 10 for presence would be I was never on my phone when I was with others, I was an active listener, and I was fully engaged in the conversations I had. The accountability piece is crucial, and I encourage you to physically write it out (in your notes on your phone or on paper). When you are actually tracking yourself, you are more likely to accomplish your daily disciplines because writing down that 'yes' or that '9/10' is one of the best feelings ever. If you miss a day, don't give up, just get back on it the next day.
I am telling you; daily disciplines add up to extraordinary changes over time. It may not feel like you are making any progress, but after a few months of consistently doing your daily disciplines, when you reflect back you will see how much you have grown. They are called daily disciplines for a reason. You have to have the discipline to do that one small action every. single. day. As I recently heard on one of my favorite podcasts, the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast, “We never suffer from lack of knowledge, we suffer from lack of discipline.” You know what you want to achieve this year. You know what you need to be doing to achieve it. Be disciplined enough to take one baby step every day, and I promise, you will look back at the end of 2021, and say “Wow, that was worth it.”