- Don’t take on too many things at one time. Do prioritize those things you want to change. Take the top one or two and focus on them first. This way, your efforts won’t be so diluted that they will be ineffectual. As you achieve a goal, move down the list.
- Make your early goals realistic and achievable. Break up a big goal into multiple smaller goals. It is great to plan to lose 100 pounds, or run a marathon, or write that novel. It is more realistic to try to lose 1-2 pounds in the next week, or get out 5 days a week to run/walk however long, or resolve to write for thirty minutes or an hour per day. You build from there. Do this on a consistent basis and a year from now you will look back and marvel on how far you have come.
- Set goals that are specific, otherwise how will you know you achieved them? It is one thing to commit to getting healthier. Specific is to say, “I’m going to quit drinking sodas for one month.” The better defined the goal, the more certain you will know when you are there.
- Have a time table. Having a specific date in mind helps. For me, knowing that I will have to run a 5K, 10K, or some other distance on a particular date allows me to plan my preparation accordingly. As with No. 2 above, break a lengthy timeframe into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, if the goal is to run a 5K six months from now, shoot for running 5 minutes non-stop in two weeks or something along those lines. You may have to begin with simply walking before you can run a step.
- Reward yourself when you hit a goal or milestone. Make the process enjoyable. If your goal is to exercise and running is not your thing, find a physical activity that you enjoy and will get you moving.
- Start now. Putting things off until some vague future “perfect” time is just another way to fail. Do something every day that will move you toward your goals.
- Find like-minded others to join you, encourage you, and hold you accountable. This is one reason I love the YMCA. You can find coaches to help you and countless others who are in similar situations to yours. Sometimes it does “take a village” to be successful.
- If you are starting an exercise program or diet, two of the more popular resolutions, get an “OK” from your doctor before starting an exercise program or radically different diet.
For 2021, my personal resolutions are to begin each day with a brief meditation and read a Psalm, complete the editing of my book in preparation for shopping it to a publisher, train for a 50K trail run in October, and complete 20 consecutive pullups (real ones with full extension) without a pause.
Dramatic changes are built on a foundation of innumerable, small cumulative changes. Let’s get to it!