“An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
“If you think you can, you can. If you think you think you can’t, you’re right.” – George Bernard Shaw
“The future belongs to the common man with uncommon determination.” – Baba Amte
“Practice is the best of all instructions.” – Publilius Syrus
It’s another year gone by. Bloggers, editors, and writers are scripting about resolutions, goals, and fresh starts. Each New Year seems to bring a surge of renewed energy to make this year the best year yet. Yet come February/ March that enthusiasm fades. Why? What is it about the New Year that brings a desire for change but then it quickly dwindles?
Change is hard. Breaking old habits takes a consistent effort. Casting your magic wand doesn’t just make it so. It takes action, accountability, dedication, repeat and do it again. Research supports it takes at least 21 days, some say 8 weeks to replace a bad habit. It really depends. It depends on the new habit, how long you have been doing it, the benefits of continuing, the immediacy of the payoff, and how often and automatically you perform the behavior.
To break the cycle, it is imperative to be conscientious of your thoughts and behaviors around the routine you desire to alter. It takes consistent modifications every minute, hour and day. For how long, well depends. Just repeat the desired change.
Wow! That seems overwhelming, huh. It doesn’t have to be. Write. Put your desired behavior modification on paper. Post your desires on a visible spot that you see daily like your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or front door.
Take some time (as much as you need) and reflect on the past year. Look at what you achieved, what you learned, gained, and liked. Review what you didn’t accomplish. What were the blocks that prevented you from achieving those marks? What do you need to make them happen in 2014? Now write this down and keep it in a safe place to review often.
The answers to the questions above help you analyze past behavior, learn from successes and failures, and make fresh intentions. The best way to accomplish this thorough investigation of your life is to break it down into professional, relational, body, and spiritual goals. Again, write your thoughts down!
Next set small goals with specific due dates. Break down those big ideas, dreams, and aspirations into tiny, manageable, and achievable goals. Ensure they are realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure before you even start.
Find support. Join a team or involve friends and family. Tell them your aspirations, the due date, and ask them to follow-up and inquire upon your progress. Involving others ensures accountability, support, and friendly reminders.
Here is a list of 10 Ways to Make Ideas Happen:
1. Remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary.
2. Focus on the possibilities instead of the limitations.
3. Remember that there is a solution for every problem (some are just harder to find than others).
4. Write it down and set a deadline.
5. Allow yourself to receive help (there is no reward for doing it all yourself).
6. Be open to feedback and suggestions.
7. Learn how to enjoy the process (it may take you a while to get there, so you might as well enjoy it)!
8. Reward yourself often. Be proud of even the tiniest steps of progress.
9. Hang around with people who make their ideas happens.
10. Start even if you don’t know how you are going to finish.