The newspapers and airwaves are filled this week with recaps of 2017 and a look forward into next year. Many people have prepared a list of resolutions that are lofty and are backed by sincere hope, laced with their best intentions … but shrouded in self-doubt. Yes, most people fail their resolutions before they ever begin and rarely give them another thought until the next year rolls around where they repeat the cycle.
I’ve spent most of my life in business leadership roles where I recruited, trained and motivated business organizations and sales teams. I have a few decades of experience and have a clear understanding of why some succeed, while others fail. As this year comes to an end and the hopes and dreams of a new year are before us, allow me to share with you my thoughts on how to make your resolutions, goals and dreams succeed. Let’s use as an example, the most common resolution …
I want to lose weight (or whatever your chosen goal).
Losing weight is hard and keeping it off is even harder. Almost all of us have a few pounds we’d love to shed while others may need to lose more. The success of your goal is largely determined by your “why.” Why do you want to achieve your goal? If your why is to look better to others, your chances of failure are great because your goal is driven by what you want others to think or feel about you. Your goal is external. If your goal is to lose weight to feel better and enjoy better health, your chances for success are greatly improved. Your goal is now internal. There is a mass of literature and studies verifying this, so understanding your "why" is essential for your success. Again, I’m not talking about weight loss but any goal. Once you understand your why …
There are five important components to achieving your goals:
1. Change your words from negative to positive.
2. Create a clear and concise plan.
3. Share your plan with others.
4. Muster the discipline and persistence to execute the plan to completion.
5. Expect to succeed.
Instead of New Year “resolution,” use dream or goal. Change the words you use, and you change how you feel. Are you more likely to be disciplined to accomplish a resolution or a dream? Which sounds more appealing to you? Achieving your dream of living a healthy, active and vibrant life is more enticing than a resolution to lose weight, so begin by changing the words you choose.
Wanting to achieve your goal is admirable but isn’t enough. Create a written plan. The plan must be detailed and have a timeline attached with a specific beginning and end. You must have the discipline to stay on the timeline and the persistence to not give up. Planning in your head isn’t enough. You must commit it to paper, share it with others and treat it as though failure is not an option.
We don’t have enough space here to go into more detail for components 1-3, but there is enough to give you a picture of what you need to do to succeed. But here is the kicker …
You must expect to win.
Seeing your success and believing it will happen before it occurs is imperative. If you can’t visualize what you want with the belief you will win, you severely hamper your ability to achieve. Convincing yourself that your success is a forgone conclusion helps you persevere and meet the inevitable challenges along the way. If you don’t truly believe you will succeed, how hard will you work? Why make the effort if you believe it is for nothing? Every great victory is preceded by the belief that victory is at hand. Norman Vincent Peale said, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Belief is most of the game.
So, the new year is at hand. Do you want it to be better than the last? To make it so, you must change your words, then plan execute and believe. And one last thing …
Dream big dreams.
It takes the same energy to dream big as it does to dream small. The famous architect, Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Whatever your dream for 2018, aim high and reach for the stars. I believe we are designed for achievement and engineered for success. What you believe will drive your results.
Believe you are a winner and make this year your best.