March 31, 2012

Too many resolutions! And how I handle them...

In a fit of enthusiasm and optimism I created a list of 13 resolutions for 2012. Once Jan 1st rolled around I realized just how daunting it all seemed. Now that April 1st is approaching (T-5ish minutes), I'm starting to sweat a little at just how many expectations I've set up for myself. But I'm determined to get through it all because I really want to achieve Resolution #13 in particular!

Making so many changes and achieving everything I have set myself up for will take a lot of effort. To keep myself from floundering through the year and allowing room for failure I've resorted to tried, tested & true  strategies

Lists
-My first list is the 2012 Making a Change Resolutions list - my "master list" so to speak
-Some of the resolutions require sub-lists as they aren't a one step process
-On days that are super busy I have a checklist so that I can  prioritize my work and get through the important stuff

Mini Goals
-These are basically the broken down versions of my main Resolutions. Setting up mini goals goes hand in hand with creating sub-lists for the resolutions list.
-Bite sized steps allow me to stay on track, get things accomplished in a timely manner and feel motivated towards the ultimate resolutions. It's more manageable to say I want to establish healthy eating habits in January than to continually remind myself that I have/want to lose 30lbs by Dec 31, 2012.

Timelines/Deadlines
-If I don't set up a deadline for myself, things seem to go on forever. I come to a deadline by estimating how much time the process will take. This helps make my expectations more realistic. While I prefer that the deadlines be pretty firm, the first three months of 2012 have taught me to be lenient and flexible as needed. This does not mean that I keep pushing things off to a future "some day" because we all know that day doesn't really come around very often.
-Google Calendar is amazing!!! No seriously. I've got 5 calendars for various activities/occasions/deadlines. Everything is color-coded. I have several email reminders that keep me on track. It syncs to my Droid and my chrome extension button does a little dance when deadlines/events are approaching. I have never been late in paying a bill or missed a birthday thanks to my Google Calendar.

Accountability
-This really varies person to person. I've realized I can't just promise myself that I'll accomplish GoalX or TaskY. I chose to turn to my blog in order to fulfill this strategy point. I've been so gung-ho about accomplishing all my resolutions and have given an accurate update of progress over the past three months now, that it would be really embarrassing for me to have nothing to show for it all on Dec 31, 2012.
-If you're not the public-humiliation sort, you could always just turn to your friends, family, colleagues, etc. Once you put it out there, you kinda have to live up to it. If you don't, you're axing your own feet!

Cheerleaders
-My accountability system also provides me with a fantastic network of supporters and encouragers. When I start hitting a slump it's really nice to turn around and find that my family, friends and www-network is cheering me on. When my own faith and resolve starts dissolving, their smiles and 'you can do its' keep me going.

Carrots
-When I reach a certain deadline or achieve a mini-goal I reward myself with something relevant and good for me. (ie: a leisure read book after a particularly strenuous session of preparing for Resolution 2, not a donut after a good workout)
-Whether it's material or otherwise, a little incentive keeps me motivated to reach my goal and is extra-sweet to revel in when I have achieved something.
-For those wondering where the stick went, kindly look above at the Cheerleader section. Not all of the cheering is entirely, erm, positive. Some of it comes in the form of "well you wanted to accomplish this, now get your behind in gear!" That's enough of a stick for me!

I really love my lists. BIG list fan. So I take some time at the beginning of each month to create a goals list for the next 4 weeks and to review my accomplishments from the past month. Such a satisfying feeling checking off every item and realizing you got everything done! (Maybe it's just me...)

What's your favorite strategy? Do you have any add-ons?