As we enter into the new year, the script for new years resolutions is usually the same. We think about the fitness and financial goals- lose weight, start a business, be more present with family- and write them in our new journals that we claim we will use consistently throughout the year. There is a fervor to accomplish our documented goals and we roll into the first few weeks checking off all of our lists and feeling satisfied with the thought of meeting all of our annual goals. Then the inevitable happens. You miss a week in the gym or justify break-in purchases for your best-friend's surprise birthday trip. Work starts to become extremely stressful and you no longer wake up early enough to meditate and journal each morning. The next thing you realize is that it is September 15th and you mentally submit to the idea that this year was a failure and you will prepare yourself mentally over the next few months to start the next year "on the right foot". It is time to end that cycle.
Through years of trial-and-error and extensive research, I have come up with several strategies that should help avoid that lapse in execution and keep you mentally engaged throughout the year. The key is the start your goal setting process with 3-year initiatives. These initiatives should comprise of how you visualize your life 3-years from now. Think deeply of where you see yourself, the emotions and sensual stimuli associated with meeting this initiative. These can be fitness, career, social or professional but the key is that each of these initiatives must be what you truly believe will fulfill your life. Its best to determine these initiatives after an intense meditation session or after a social media cleanse to ensure your mind is void of all cravings. If you fail to identify what fulfills your personal life, you will lack the perseverance that is required throughout the year to overcome the pain necessary to see success.
Once your 3-year initiatives are identified, the next step is to determine what goals you must accomplish in order to see your initiatives come into fruition. The objective is to create 1-year goals, 6-month goals and 12-week goals. These goals must be straightforward, measurable, and a clear progressive step towards you meeting your initiative. When creating goals, the emphasis should be placed on the 12-week goal to ensure you remain adaptive throughout the year. The 6-month and Annual goals are important but these serve as more of goal posts to ensure you stay on track throughout the year. After each 12-week period, it is imperative that you realign these goal posts based on the progress achieved and other variables in your life. Once you goal posts are re-established, repeat the process of setting new 12-week goal.
As you progress through the year is it key that you consistently evaluate your progress with the 12-week goal and do everything in your power to meet the goal by the end of the period. The 12-week goal is what truly drives success and with the finite time limit it maintains a sense of urgency on you throughout the year. Additionally, because each goal is achievable, there should be continuous positive reinforcement throughout the year to keep that fire beneath you.
The last component of the goal setting plan is setting Weekly Tasks. These tasks are simple and direct actions that you will need to perform weekly in order to meet your 12-week goal. A strategy to stay aligned with these tasks is to write them on a white board and have it posted in a location where you see it daily as a reminder. Create a system where you check off each tasks once it is complete to hold yourself accountable.
The full system is designed such that you focus on the intermediate tasks and prioritize their completion. This focus on immediate and consistent action is what drives a successful execution plan. Instead of dreading the failure of a long drawn out annual goal, we remain energized knowing that we are making progress and can remain confident that if we sustain the effort being exerted, we will undoubtedly meet our longer term goal.
Goal Setting Example: Fitness
Vision: Relaxing in a hammock on a beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica drinking a rum breeze with my shirt off. Waking up early to watch the sunrise and going for a 5K run then drinking a fruit smoothie. My body toned with a six-pack glistening with sweat while listening to reggae.
*Vision of my life 3-years from now and demonstrate why I want to be in shape*
1. Reduce body fat to 10%
1 - Year Goal:
1. Reduce body fat to 15%
6 - Month Goal:
1. Reduce body fat to 18%
2. Reduce body weight to 155 lbs
3. Complete a Half-Marathon race
Run 3x week for a total distance of 6 miles
Complete Muscle and Fitness workout plan. Weight train 3x week
Establish a meal plan and only eat one cheat meal per week
Drink 1 gallon of water per day