8 out of 10 people fail in achieving their new year’s resolution. 36% percent of the people don’t even get through the first month.
What happened to my last year’s New Year Resolution?
The same that happened every year, I forgot about until it was almost the New Year and I got to thinking about My New Year Resolution again.
I realized that after the 1st or the 2nd week of January had passed, I was so caught up the monotony of life that I forgot to my “why” and eventually I forgot about my the New Year resolution.
What have I done to ensure 2016 is going to be Legendary?
I created an visual representation of my New Year Resolution similar to the picture above.
I enrolled in an online class to learn how to be a better writer and I was acquainted with the pre-writing process.
According to the lecturer, pre-writing is the most critical and yet the most over-looked step in the writing process.
As I dug deeper in understanding this process, I realized that most of the time I had a faint idea of what I wanted to write about but lack of planning or structuring the main message meant putting in a lot of time re-working what I wrote and sometimes abandoning what I started with.
What if I applied the same process to my New Year Resolution for 2016?
The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
– Melody Beattie
However setting goal is just a facet of a brilliant diamond, a single facet is not enough for the diamond to sparkle but nonetheless important.
Is your New Year’s Resolution congruous or in harmony with your inner desire?
After all why would you want to put in time and effort in achieving something that adds little value to your life ?
You are unique, why should your goals be any different?
What each person wants in life is unique and influenced by a variety of factors like a person’s current situation [mental, physical and emotional] as well as their life experiences.
The goals of individual who struggles to make meets end will dramatically differ from an individual who has relative financial stability but longs for a meaningful relationship.
Also as each of these factors changes, so do a person’s desire, needs, wants & goals.
The beauty of time is that it does not discriminate.
For time, everyone is equal and everyone equally gets 24 hour each day. It cannot be stored or saved, it can only be spent.
Finding out what you want v/s what you need can help you focus your energy and efforts in area that need immediate attention. Life is about setting priorities, the right priorities.
Exercise Your Mind: Finding Out What You Want?
Free writing is one of the techniques I picked up while taking the course.
In summary, you set up a 5 minute timer and start writing anything and everything that comes in your mind and then stop when time is up.
The key is you don’t stop or pause even for a second, if you cannot think of anything type “I am unable to think of anything” or “This is a stupid idea”. Spelling mistakes don’t matter and the backspace key does not exist.
When you are free writing you remove any sort of a self restraint and tap into your sub-conscious.
At the end of my free writing session which I titled “What Do I Want to Achieve in 2016”, I came up with a list of things.
I was consciously aware of most of the things on the list but there were a few things I observed that surprised me.
For example: Financial security was my top priority or worry however I was no longer as much concerned about having a better job.
In short I was content with my present job but at the same time very much concerned about my financial stability if something tragic and unexpected happened to me.
I highlighted all the points and made a list [99 in total]. As I went through the list I observed most were either repetition or related to each other and I grouped them together in a spreadsheet.
“You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.”
Now I had my groups in place and a list of things that I wanted to do, but I could not do everything, at least not all of them at the same time. Also staring at a list was counter-productive for me as it made me feel overwhelmed with so much work that I needed to do.
“A picture is worth thousand words”
Now that I had a detailed list, I wanted “the big picture” that I could look at to remind myself of my goals that I set for myself. I used an excellent mind mapping tool that not only allowed me to create an over-view of my goals but also showed interdependency between task.
In the image representation below, I created a mind map of a goal to show the inter-dependency of tasks as well as an over-view of the entire process of getting a book published that I could think of in a matter of couple of minutes to give you an idea of how easy it is to look at an image than read a list.
Up until this point if you think that the process is too lengthy and cumbersome, then you are absolutely right, I too felt the same, but as I stated earlier, prewriting is the most critical and yet the most over-looked step in the writing process and it was at this point I understood why is overlooked even though being such a critical step.
What you cannot measure you cannot manage.
Each weekend I set aside some time and just take stock of the things I accomplished in the entire week, and I compare it with what I had planned to complete from my previous week’s notes. This help me measure my progress.
Then I go over my mind maps and pick an area that I would like to work upon and make a task list out of it. Some tasks would just take an hour; others would need to be done daily.
I don’t store them in my head I make a To-Do List for it.
It is important to measure your performance.
For example: One of my goals is to eat healthy and still lose weight and the way to do it is to track what I eat (I use My Fitness Pal for that). Recording what I eat not only helps me keep a track of my calorie intake but the logging also helps me measure my performance through the week.
Find ways to measure your performance, automate if possible.
How Much Progress Have I Made?
To be candid, I haven’t made much progress. But as each week goes by, I realize that time is fleeting and the next day I try to push myself a little harder than yesterday.
When I go through the progress I’ve made and compare it against the things I planned on getting done, I am holding myself accountable. It also helps me get realistic of the time frame required to get things done.
Most importantly it keeps me focused on my goals and every time I think I am having an off day, I push myself just a little bit harder knowing well that I have a long way to long and now is just the beginning.
If you’ve made it so far, then you are genuinely committed to achieving your goals.
Before you get started with the free writing, ask these questions to yourself and think about it for a couple of minutes. Do not restrict your thoughts and then start with the free writing.
- If I die today, how would I like to be remembered?
- What will it take to be the kind of person I would like to be remembered as?
- How do I go about it?
- You are unique, why should your goals be any different?
- Exercise Your Mind: Find Out What You Want
- You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.
- A picture is worth thousand words
- What you cannot measure you cannot manage.
Suggested Additional Reading:
How to Free Write? [Detailed description of free writing]
3 Surprising Benefits of Free Writing in the Morning