Monday Mornings with Madison


We often come up with ambitious goals that we have every intention of achieving. Typically, these are all excellent ideas: what could be better than to finally get in shape or set a household budget or clear out the closet clutter?

What happens to those goals? Well, they’re usually things that we should have done a long time ago but that we kept pushing off because they seem difficult.  When we decide to tackle them, we’re excited to think that at long last we’re going to get the results we want and deserve. We’ll be fit and frugal and uncluttered! And then…

Then we go back to our busy lives and the next time we think about these fine resolutions is when we come up with a new list of goals. And this time, we really, really are going to keep them.

If you want to stop making empty promises to yourself, consider a few points that could help make your resolutions stick:

Look at the big picture We often choose resolutions that aren’t that important to us in the long run. It’s no surprise that when we recognize this fact, our resolutions go out the window. So start by looking at what’s really important to you. What would genuinely improve your life? Write those goals down and ask yourself, “Is this truly important to me?” or “How much happier will I be if I achieve this?” Keep asking yourself these questions until you get a short, focused list of important goals. It’s better to have 2  resolutions that you accomplish than 10 goals you abandon.

Make sure it’s your resolution  Sometimes we make resolutions based on other people’s goals. You can adopt someone else’s goal as your own but you have to really own it if you want to see it through. For example, your boss may want you to make more client calls.  Instead of seeing this as a burden inflicted on you, figure out how you will personally benefit from making those calls. If nothing else, you benefit by keeping your job — isn’t that personally motivating? Your boss’s goal now becomes one of your own important resolutions.

Start with something small Once you have a few goals that really matter to you, choose one small element of each  that you can easily do daily over the next  month. Don’t make a big list of all the tasks required to accomplish each goal. If you do, you’ll get overwhelmed and you’ll fall into the trap of “all or nothing.”  This is what happens when you don’t do all the things on your list: you start to feel defeated and then it’s easy to do nothing. If, instead, you pick something small, you set yourself up for success. For example, let’s say your goal is to get into shape but you feel pressed for time. Rather than make your goal dependent on working out at the gym 3 times a week, how about doing 10 push-ups every day for one month? This is do-able at home even with the busiest schedule; it will make you feel better and will encourage you to try more the following month.

Consider the obstacles Every resolution worth achieving presents obstacles that must be overcome.  If there were not some difficulties involved, you would have achieved the goal long ago. In order to stick to your resolution, look ahead and consider the obstacles you may encounter. Then come up with a solution for each potential problem.  Of course, it will be easier to tackle these difficulties if you’ve focused on goals that are genuinely meaningful to you.

List all the benefits  Finally, write down on a piece of paper all the benefits you will gain when you accomplish your goals. Tuck the list into your wallet and when the going gets tough, pull out that slip of paper and remember the importance of what you’re doing. It’s worth it!

“To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action.” Michel Hanson

© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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