When we turn the calendar each new year, why do we have a sense of renewed hope and optimism? We have a positive outlook. We like the possibilities of what lies ahead. We party like it’s 1999 (well, I guess we did a few years ago.)
Why is it that this hope and optimism fades so quickly, like by January 30? Where do we go astray? Why do we so quickly lose our motivation? What can be done about it? How can we box up this feeling and make it become the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year?
- Have a Plan – Layout the year and define mile markers for each month. What do you want to accomplish each month? What steps do you need to take to get to each mile marker? Now back it up. Can you take those steps in that timeframe that you have allowed to meet that mile marker? If not, reset the mile marker. Push it out a month. Does this action give you too many mile markers in one month? Rethink your strategy. Once you layout the year, this becomes your action roadmap. As you review your roadmap, you will see the upcoming mile markers in the weeks and months ahead which will rekindle that same feeling you had when you kissed that stranger at midnight. What’s on your roadmap?
- Celebrate Small Victories – After hitting your mile markers on your roadmap throughout the year, reward yourself. Get an ice cream cone. Treat yourself to a movie. Go for a relaxing massage. Whatever you need to do to celebrate your accomplishment. “Oh, but I don’t have time/money/blah blah,” you say? Your “stuff” will still be there when you come back. Somehow it always waits for you, like a patient Labrador sitting in a corner. Even Suze Orman says, “People first then money then things.” You can spend the dollar to get yourself an ice cream cone at McDonalds. You’re taking care of people (yourself). That small celebration may make you feel bubbly like the beverage(s) you were consuming that night. To what will you toast?
- Talk the Walk – Articulate all of the positive happenings to come this year resulting from the execution of your action roadmap. As you begin to exude confidence in your plan, you will gain assurance from it. Others will see your excitement and may share in your enthusiasm. Like confetti raining down, others will begin to cheer for you. What are you sharing with the world?
- Hit the Reset Button – Did you already drop the ball on your New Year’s resolution? So what. Start over. Try it again. You had a puff? Quit again. You missed a workout? Go tomorrow. Had to work late last night? Spend tonight with your family. Old habits are hard to break. That’s why they are habits. Try again. Do better tomorrow. Vow to fight on. Start with that same resolve you woke up with on January 1. What do you need to start over?
- Change Scenery – Reignite your excitement by changing your location. The latest psychological research shows that changing the environment when starting a new habit or kicking an old one is a good foundation for success. If you remain in your typical environment while, say, quitting smoking, the familiar things will “remind” you to smoke – breakfast at the kitchen table, your commute into work, 10 AM means smoke break, etc. If you change your environment for a week or two, removed from the reminders of your old habit, you have an opportunity to start new habits. Where will you go?
- Have a Party – If you really want to relive your New Year’s feeling, throw a party. Have appetizers and cocktails. Watch YouTube replays of the ball drop. Or drop your own. Play music videos and have your own version of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Stay up until midnight. An evening to blow off steam could be just the medicine needed to regain that optimism and hope you felt on that winter (or summer depending where in the world you celebrated) night. Who will you share the evening with?
QUESTION FOR YOU –
How will you reignite your optimism?
SOMETHING FOR YOU –
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Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant