Thursday, March 06, 2008

Time To Rebuild Your New Years Resolutions

Remember those New Year's resolutions you made?

  • This is the year I'm going to finally get in shape!

  • This is the year I'm going to lose that weight!

  • This is the year I'm finally going to . . . . . . ?

March is the month that most people give up on those resolutions. It takes a few months but the excitement and the enthusiasm are eventually gone. The new gadget or the new program just aren't working any more. They failed! So, until we discover a new gadget or program that seems even better, we settle back into the couch with a warm blanket and grab the remote control to watch reruns of Star Trek or Little House On The Prairie.
What happened? If you study the lives of those people who have made a success out of life, you will discover that prior to their success, they were great at failing! Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, tried thousands of filaments before he discovered the one that worked. Michael Jordan did not make his own high school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln lost election after election in Illinois politics before he became President. So, you are in good company if you are down right now. There is nothing wrong with falling down. There is a lot of things wrong about staying down. If at first, your plan does not succeed, you need to get yourself another plan. Stop living in the past and criticizing yourself for your mistakes. You can’t change the past, so why give it a second thought. Yesterday is a cancelled check.

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
- Thomas Edison

True Success is made of mini-successes that eventually lead to one BIG mega-success. Sure, you’re gonna make mistakes along the way, but we’re human beings. We’re not designed to be perfect. We learn from our mistakes and it helps us become stronger and better in the process. You can’t be successful without failing first.
Before you get up and renew your efforts to make that important change, heed this advice.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Learn from failure. Failure can be your best friend. If you are going to win, you must change something. If you really want to have success this time, take a look at some ideas that might give you a better chance at getting there.
  1. You must have a strong, driving reason to achieve your goal. You must have a burning desire to help you get there. Without that, you will probably not make it. Who do you think is going to reach a goal of losing weight and being fit? The person who just wants to fit into their tight jeans or the person who wants to live long enough to make it to their daughter's wedding? Obesity and lack of exercise have strong ties to heart disease. Who do you thing will have a better chance at financial independence? The person who just wants to make a little "mad money" or the person who wants to have the time to spend with their family before they are grown and gone? If you really don't have to have it, you will probably quit before long.

  2. Have a clear, concise picture of what you want. Picture it in your mind first. Then write it down or get a picture of it and put it on the wall, by your mirror or computer. Look at it every day. Start picturing in your mind, every day, what it will be like to have already reached your goal. How will your life be different? Say to yourself, "Now that I am ___________ (financially free, thin and fit, etc), my life is better because I can now ___________? You fill in the blanks. I can't emphasize enough that you write it down or have a physical picture of what it is that you want. Carry it with you in your wallet, purse or pocket as a reminder. When the doubts come and you are feeling weak, this will help you to carry on.

  3. Having a purpose is great but goals are not purposes. Now that you have your purpose and your "Why" you are doing this, it is time to write down some goals. Goals are different than purposes because they are measurable. "I want to lose weight," is not a goal. "I want to buy a house," is not a goal. "My goal is to lose 3 pounds per week" is something you can measure. The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. If you want to lose 3 pounds per week (not for everyone), it would be best to write down what you are going to do every day in order to reach this goal. You might want to walk so many miles per day, do so many push ups, crunches, eat 5 small meals per day, drink 8 glasses of filtered water or eat food that is low on the glycemic index. If you are only losing 1 pound per week, you can then adjust the details of what you are doing every day and measure again later.

  4. Write it down. I know I've said this a dozen times already but it will help you to stick to your plan. There is something about writing your plan down (on paper or computer) that somehow moves you to action. They say that when a house is built, it is built three times. The first time is in the builders mind, the second is on paper and the third time is when it gets physically built!
  5. Be stretchingly realistic. I borrowed my girlfriends bike one time and took it down to the gas station to fill up the tires with air. While I was doing it, the tire blew up with a loud bang. I had put in too much, too fast. I did not have a tire gauge with me. I was in a hurry and did not pay attention to the details. Rome was not built in a day. You will probably not make a million dollars in a month if you have never done that before. You will probably not lose 150 pounds in a week. So try to be realistic about what you are trying to accomplish. On the other hand, try to stretch yourself a little. Don't make your goal too easy. Look at what you are capable of doing and reset your goal. Make it a little bit harder. If you know you can run the mile in 5 minutes, set your goal for 4 minutes and 59 seconds. Stretch it a little. You never know what you are really capable of. Have you ever been to Disney World? Did you know that the whole park was built in 366 days? If you dream it, you can build it. Others have done it. Why not you? "Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all that he can."- Henry Drummond

  6. Be accountable to someone. Share your goals with someone who will take enough interest in you to check on how you are doing. Join a group of like minded people who are headed for the same goal. Most people find it easier to disappoint themselves than to disappoint others. If you sign up for an exercise class, you will be more liable to show up than you would exercising on your own. If you start a blog about your journey to weight loss, you are laying it out there for all to see. If it turns out to be your journey to weight gain, that might be embarrassing enough to turn it back around. If you want to make $5000 this month and you only make $3000, it should motivate you to turn up the heat next month. If you are trying, there are others out there who will cheer you on and help you in ways you never dreamed of.

  7. Find a mentor. Learning from experience and mistakes is wonderful. How can you learn and get better without making mistakes? Right? How about learning from someone else's mistakes? A mentor is someone who has gone on the same path you are on now and is at least more successful than you are. They can share with you all the mistakes that they have made in order for you to learn and succeed faster than if you ventured out there alone. If you wanted to be a gold miner, who better to teach you than a seasoned, successful gold miner. A good mentor will not spend a lot of time giving you lectures and sermons. Instead, he/she will take you to the gold mine and teach by example. You can learn how to have a better golf swing by watching it and doing it than by reading a book or listening to a tape. If you have a mentor with you, they can spot and help you correct mistakes quickly. That could save you months and years of wasted time. That is discouraging. Discouragement leads to disappointment and that leads to quitting.

  8. Get serious! Which statement would be more true? "Successful people find the time to do the important things in life" OR "People who make the time to do the important things in life are successful." I remember the first time I went out to play golf on a real golf course. I was pretty good on the golfing range. I could hit a ball pretty well and so I figured I could do the same on a golf course. I was a good athlete at age 12 so I thought I could pick this up quickly and at least be better than my mother. The first time I went out there, I expected to be like "Arnold Palmer." For you younger folks, you might understand me better if I said, "Tiger Woods." Needless to say, it was one of the most frustrating afternoons of my life. I lost 7 golf balls and my score was much higher than my IQ. My mother beat me badly too. I had not taken the game serious enough. Somebody told Jack Nicholas once that they wish they could play golf as well as he did. He turned to them quickly and said, "No, you don't." He went on to explain to them how he got up every day before sunrise to get to the course early. He talked about how many drives and chip shots he would shoot until his hands would get bloody. He then would bandage them up before going out to practice again. He would practice until the sun went down and everyone else had left the course. This is the kind of price that it takes to be a champion. A winner pays the price and does the little things that losers will not bother to do. Are you serious about your goals? What price are you willing to pay in order to get where you want to go? Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.

  9. Choose a time to get started. If you are trying to lose weight, the holiday season may not be the best time to get started. Too much temptation. Make sure it is a time that few things will get in your way and drag you down. Think about all of the things that will come along to interfere with your progress. Anticipate what those might be and figure out a plan to neutralize them before they become a problem.

  10. Choose a time frame to accomplish your goal. There is something magic about 90 days. It is hard to sustain a fast pace forever. Sooner or later, you run out of steam. On the other hand, many people will sprint for a short period of time and give up right before they cross the finish line. How sad. A goal worth reaching is worth at least 90 days of effort. If you have not reached a realistic goal in 90 days, it would be time to reevaluate your efforts, fine tune your strategy and try again for another 90 days. Break it down into 30 day periods. If you want to lose 30 pounds in 90 days, you know you are on track if you have lost 10 pounds in the first month. If you have only lost 5 pounds, you know that you are going to have to change your plan. Now you will have to lose at least 13 pounds per month in the remaining 2 months.

  11. Don't beat yourself up if you fail. Don't take it out on others around you either. There is nothing wrong with falling down. There is a lot wrong with laying there and not getting up. When I was younger, I had a job that I just hated. I complained all the time and had a negative attitude. I guess you could say I was depressed. One of my coworkers suggested that I take some antidepressants. He was taking them and he claimed to feel much better. Then I realized that I was in this depressing situation because of choices I had made. Complaining was not going to make things better. I had two decisions that I could make. I could choose to change my attitude or I could choose to change my job. I chose to change my job. I vividly remember the day I left my job. I drove my car about two blocks away, stopped, got out and danced around it while pumping my fist in the air. Any depression was instantly gone and without the use of drugs. My new situation payed me twice as much with only putting in half as much time. I can't believe how much of my life I wasted by laying down in my anger and depression. Life is just to short to play that game. So, if you've fallen down, find a way to get up and get on with your life. You deserve to be happy and healthy. Your family deserves to have you that way too. Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.

  12. Find a plan that works for you. Why would you want to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to invent the wheel when it has already been invented? What a waste of time and energy. Successful people don't do all the work themselves. They leverage their time by finding others who have more expertise than them and they use them to reach their goals faster. What if you found a "tried-and-true" program that could help you accomplish your goals in half the time that you could on your own? Wouldn't that make sense? "Well," you say, "some programs can cost a lot of money." Have you compared that to the cost of going-it-alone and wasting 6-8 months of time learning from all your mistakes? Have you counted the cost of failure lately? Now, which is more expensive? I am looking for something that saves me time and money in the long run. I am looking for something that works and has an impressive track record of success. A money-back-guarantee would be nice too.

So, make a plan today to get up and start over. It is never too late to start dreaming again. It is never too late to get your life back on track. Happiness is a choice. If you have to choose between misery and happiness, choose to be happy.

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