A Good Start is Half the Battle

A new year is finally upon us. This can be a strange time for a lot of people, as it’s a time of change, renewal and hopefully fresh starts. The statisticians tell us that by the third week of January the majority of new years resolutions – those commitments we make to ourselves to better our health, our relationships, our jobs and everything else are all but relegated to the trash.

Why is this? Why do so many of us fail to achieve the goals that we so positively and enthusiastically set for ourselves only a few weeks before? I believe the answer is two-fold.

Fuelled by your beginner enthusiasm to achieve, we try to do too much too soon. We fail to plan our path to success and in the process, we fail to build momentum, which as you know by now from reading this blog, is the key to success in so much of our lives. The best motivation is progress so start small and build wins along the way but above all else be patient and stick to your plan.

Secondly, the goal breakdown is poor. Again if you have read this blog before, you know that I am a big fan of huge unrealistic goals as they are quite motivating but the plan required to reach a big goal requires lots of mini plans and sub-goals to build momentum and this is the part that I believe scuppers a lot of peoples ambitions. They set a big goal (great) but they fail to break it down into lots of smaller sub goals (not great) which leads them to do too much to start with as they try to shoot for the moon on their first attempts, they fail, become demotivated and give up (usually by the third week in January). And so the cycle continues….

A better way to approach this would be:

  1. Spend a decent amount of time really thinking about what it is you want.
  2. Get a pen and paper out and write it down in simple language – no fluff.
  3. If you have more than one item on this list, aggressively prioritise it. Be ruthless here – what is the one thing that I will give my energy, focus and attention to and will remain focussed on until it is complete? That is your first priority item.
  4. Take the first item on the list and on a clean page, brainstorm about how you are going to tackle this item – this could be a to-do list or a mind map or any other way you are comfortable with decomposing an idea into executable tasks.
  5. Remember the first principles of starting small and building momentum – these must be part of your execution plan.
  6. Then apply FOCUS to that single item.

I wish you all the best in 2019 as you sharpen your focus to improve on the things that make you great.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

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