It’s that time of year again. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation, and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves. Usually New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important resolutions. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season. Instead, consider these ideas for goals that won’t create more stress.
Pick one thing. Personal growth is defined as “the process by which a person recognizes him or herself and continually develops to reach their full potential”. Done right, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life, so don’t push yourself to do it all right now. Instead, pick one area to begin with. If you’re successful with the first, you can make another in a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of reaching your end goals.
Pick a start date. This doesn’t have to be New Years Day. You may be tempted to do so, but if you want to make a real change, pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested and enthusiastic. You can even start today, or next week. You may want to wait until your kids are back in school or after a vacation. Sometimes picking a specific date doesn’t work and it’s simply better to begin when your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. The trick is to start, and then to stick with it every day afterwards.
Plan ahead. While you prepare to begin, as soon as you’ve decided on your goals, start assembling resources so they’ll be available when you need them. Read books or articles that can help with your goals. Do your best to ensure things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running, make sure you have the shoes, clothes, hat, glasses, and music at the ready. Then there can be no excuses. Anticipate what problems could arise and make a list of them. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard, work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.
Be kind to yourself. If you fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk, or shout at the kids one morning, don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them. You can also reward yourself for sticking to your goal after one week, one month, and more going forward. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.
As this year comes to a close, don’t set a New Year’s Resolution (or several) just because you feel like it’s what you’re “supposed to do”. Instead, think of what changes you really want to make for your own personal growth, decide how you will be most likely to succeed, and begin with the end in mind.
To assist with setting and tracking your goals, check out our variety of goal planning forms.
Meet Vernon Keith Jones! He’s a minister, CEO, counselor, entrepreneur, mentor, podcast host, and more.
Here’s his Franklin Planner Story:
“My father was introduced to the Franklin Planner System when he journeyed into the field of network marketing. He began to value its ability to provide order, distribute, and plan for multi-level and multi-brand concepts as a way of making sense out of the many pieces that made up this new business venture…. As his knowledge of the Franklin Planner system took shape, he began to teach me the same methods to use in my life as well. I still appreciate this same methodology today…. The ability to map out my daily tasks based on being able to determine what is important and what is urgent, goes a long way into reaching goals that I have set for myself and for my family. In doing so, I can de-clutter my mind and determine what can wait during the course of a given day. I am then able to ultimately assign less important tasks into the future.
“My father passed in the late 1980s. More recently my siblings and I were honored to care for our mother as she battled with the onset of dementia in the latter years of her life…. Looking back over that period, I can honestly say that having been able to look upon…the Franklin Planner method of assigning daily tasks, as well as spending productive time in the evenings to data dump and to map out what the next day would look like made all the difference in the world. Then and now, I again have found confidence in what I can achieve both daily, and in the weeks and months ahead using the Franklin Planner system.
“Over the course of many years, and having achieved several levels of education, I have found that the Franklin Planner system has provided me with the confidence, the discipline, and the tools to lead me in the most certain path to attain the goals that I have set forth based upon the values and the things most important to me.”
If you want to hear more from Vernon Keith Jones, you can find him on Facebook (Vernon Keith Jones), Instagram (@vkeithjones), and Twitter (@Thediplomat1911).