Setting Goals, Working Plans
One of the truisms of New Years’ resolutions is that they’re hardly ever met. We’ve all heard the maxim that it takes 21-Days to form a habit that sticks. If I can make my January 1 workout routine stick for three weeks, I’m gold.
Well, it takes about three times that amount of time. So it’s day 22 and you really don’t feel like going to the gym, by you’ve done it for 21 days so it’s okay to skip a day… and pretty soon you’re not going. If 21 days were the gold standard, I wouldn’t be pumping out Day 25 of my daily inspirations no less than 7 hours too late to get it in on the proper day.
I’ve found it exceedingly important to set goals for myself that require a plan: I’m going to run 46 races this year, I’m going to go back to school and earn an MBA, whatever. I find that I’m often too conservative with my plans: I hit 46 races in August, meaning I had 4 more months to run races; I finished my MBA a semester ahead of when I planned. That’s fine though, its the goal that’s important and having a target to shoot at. Once the goal is set, and I communicate it out to hold myself accountable, there’s only the plan for how it’s going to happen left
I think of it this way: if I don’t already know how to get somewhere, I have to have help getting there – a map, a gps, a friend who does know the way. If I haven’t built the habit, I need to chart out what I need to do to reach my goal.
When I get those goals set, I start working the plan. This works great for things I DO want to do, but it’s particularly important when I don’t want to do things. To this point, the inspiration to more frequently do laundry or make the bed just isn’t there, but these things have to get done. I haven’t been able to inspire myself enough to get a goal around these, but I know if I do it’ll get done. I would like to be better about doing things I don’t want to do, and perhaps that will be my next goal.
If you don’t have a habit – remember, throw that 21-day jive out the window – you’re going to need a goal, and a plan to get to that goal, and the commitment to work the plan. It’s easy to fail, it’s ridiculously easy to back pedal or go off course. Good plans will help you recover. A solid relationship with yourself will help you decide if you can commit to a goal – if you REALLY want to achieve that goal.