End of the Year Rubbish

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

It’s December 9th. Have you started thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions? Does the thought of making a list make you cringe in memory of last year’s list that hardly got touched? Are you ready for a change this year (no, really, this year’s gonna be different, I swear!!)? If you are, get ready to put down your pencils and start getting into action, because the idea of waiting until the New Year begins is a plain ol’ bag of rubbish.

Why wait?

Before you know it, the end of the year will have come and gone. And you’ll be staring at a list in March that never got started. Again. This is what happens when you put off until tomorrow what you could be doing today. And what you could be doing today is changing your life.

When I read Unclutter Your Life in One Week a month or so ago, I didn’t add it to my list of things to do in 2010. In fact, I didn’t even wait until Monday, which is the first day of the week of unclutter. In fact, I didn’t even wait until I had finished the book. As soon as I finished the chapter on uncluttering my closet, I opened her up and got started. And even though I didn’t end up uncluttering the house in that one week (which is completely normal for a working person, and Erin Doland—the author—even admits to it), I had a garage sale that very weekend. Why? Because I didn’t want to wait until I had time to unclutter the entire house. I wanted to take it one step at a time, so as not to overwhelm myself. And I wanted to get started because a body in motion stays in motion.

What you can do.

Get Started.

Simple as that. Write down your list, and even if it has just one item on it, get started. If it has 50 items on it, get started. If you don’t know where to begin, choose the easiest one first—business books like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will disagree with me on this, but we’re starting small here. You don’t want to find yourself stuck on item #1 and then never move on to item #2. Get some momentum going, and then tackle the bigger resolutions as you pick up speed and confidence.

Start Small.

Yes, I know I said this in the point above. I mean it. Micromovements. If you want to lose weight, it’s the same formula whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50: 1 pound at a time. Just make a plan for what you’ll do in the coming week to help to get closer to your goal. If the next week is too much, start with today. And when I say small, I mean small. If you’re trying to meet new people, there’s no need to go joining a networking group right away. Start with some research on local watering holes or activity groups, just to see what’s out there. When you have an idea of a place or group you’d like to visit, then go check it out. And if you get stuck, try starting even smaller.

Stick With It.

You can do it. I’m sure you’ve heard the line, You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It’s not just a line. Make it your mantra. Say to yourself every morning, “I can do this.” When you think you can’t put another ounce of effort towards your goal, I bet you can. you put that goal on your list for a reason. If you can’t remember that reason, get reconnected with it. Write down all the ways that achieving your goal will make your life easier or better. Put those on little post it notes and put them up in your works space or your car, or send yourself email reminders or even a snail-mail card of encouragement. Think it’s silly? You won’t when your goal is complete and you have your reminders to thank for it!

Partner Up.

Accountability can play a huge role in achieving your goals. If your goal is to get out in nature more, find a friend who shares the same goal. If your goal is to go back to school like you’ve been meaning to do, have a friend or loved one check in on you. If your goal is to meet new people, join a social network like active.com or meetup.com where you might find individuals who share your interests. You might even hire a coach to help hold you accountable. The point is, there’s strength in numbers—use that to yoru advantage!

No Judgment. I Mean It.

Even on the days when you don’t do a lick of work towards your goal, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the freedom to take days off (be careful about how many days off you take in a row; notice how a work week is 5 days on, 2 days off or 4 days on, 3 days off). And if you hear that little devil on your shoulder remind you that you haven’t done a lick of work towards your goal, I want you to speak these four words, very clearly, very loudly to that devil: “Shut yer pie hole!” Even if you take 5 days off or 5 months and then get back to working on that goal, give yourself kudos for taking another step toward what you want to achieve. Don’t allow the judgments to derail your focus. Remember, you CAN do this!

Reward Yourself.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s great to work fiercely towards your goals. But when all you’re doing is working, it’s just a matter of time before you burn yourself all out. Have you ever rewarded yourself after completing a big project at work by going out to dinner or getting yourself that [little thing that maybe no one noticed, but it was a big deal to you]? If not, you’re missing out. And reaching milestones on your resolution list is a great place to start. Choose something that fits the achievement of the goal, like a new pair of pants once you’ve reached [10% of your lost weight goal]. Or tickets to [the game, the show, the theater] once you’ve reached [30% of your savings goal]. Or the new house you’ve been saving for once you reach 100% of your savings goal. The key here is to make sure the reward fits the achievement, and only you can decide that. If you’re not sure, get the opinion of a friend or loved one who will be honest with you. And of course, enjoy that reward, you’ve earned it!

Now you’re done reading this article and you have a few choices.

  • Get started. Make a list and get yourself going. Begin with getting started and see where it takes you. If you hit bumps in the road, that’s okay. You’re learning and making progress, and isn’t that what your list is all about, anyway?
  • Think it’s a nice idea but that you’ll never stick to any of this. Not with that attitude, you won’t! Now get out a piece of paper and start your list. I’ll wait. Go ahead, I’m still here. Get stuck after just a couple things? Then start with just those things. Name your first step, and then see that first bullet point above.
  • Think it’s all a bunch of hogwash and you don’t know why you read this article to begin with. Well, that’s true. If you don’t believe you can get through your resolution list this year, then you probably can’t. But if there’s the tiniest little bit of you that thinks it’s possible, then start with that second bullet point up there and see where it leads you. you might be surprised.
  • Something I haven’t named here. Email me. Let’s chat it out and see where it leads you. What have you got to lose?
Photo used under Creative Commons License via Flickr.

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