Christmas Candles 2009-2010

It’s that time of the year now. Most parts of the ham should have traveled through your digestive system by now, so it’s time for some self-improvement. Yes, we’re nearing the end of the decade, so this calls for some New Year’s resolutions.

Have you made New Year’s resolutions before? I have. But before, when I wasn’t aware of the important factors that would lead to success, I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to. The resolutions just faded away as the weeks passed. Today, I would like to share some tips on fulfilling those New Year’s resolutions in a more organized and effective manner.

Remember that lump of turkey you digested on Christmas Eve? And the glögi and beer that injected a deadly number of calories into your flesh… Perhaps you’d like to get rid of those additional pounds. Christmas and New Year are so conveniently positioned next to each other that it’s like a no-brainer to tell yourself to lose weight after the seasonal diet. Making a decision is a good start, for sure, but there’s more to do if you want to make your decision failure-proof.

A failure-proof plan is of course impossible to attain, but there are steps that can greatly reduce the risks of failing to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has come up with a great method of 6 Changes to adopt new habits into your life. He says that you should break each habit into 8 easy steps. You see, if you only have a goal in mind, it’s a mere thought inside your head. A New Year’s resolution like “lose weight” is too vague. You know what it is, and you know what you want to achieve, but you don’t have a clear idea of how to accomplish the task. So you need to plan it out.

When you have a plan for your goal, you have a clear picture of how you’re supposed to start and what you’re supposed do in the following weeks and months. It’s hard to start doing anything if you only have a vague concept in your head. It’s a different case if you’ve already taken the road and succeeded, but most New Year’s resolutions are set in new grounds where you might’ve mucked around but haven’t found success, so this time you will want to do things differently.

Make a plan that is easy to implement

This year, I want you to be more decisive and more organized, so I want you to take your journal or a piece of paper, and write down your New Year’s resolutions. The fewer the better. In this guide, I will take weightloss as one example.

Under the title, you should put down all the steps and techniques that you will employ in order to fulfill your New Year’s resolution. But follow Leo’s advice and don’t make the first step too overwhelming or too complicated. The first step should be easy. The most important reason for making the first step ridiculously easy is that will also be easy to execute and put into effect. If, on the other hand, the first step is too complicated, you’ll easily postpone the task and fall into a viscious cycle of procrastination.

Which of the following two steps, do you think, is easier to execute?

  1. Buy a pair of skis and some winter sportswear.
  2. Go out for a 20-minute walk.

Certainly it’s easier and faster to just go out for a walk than to evaluate prices, go shopping and finally buy the gear. Even if you buy the equipment, you still haven’t done anything to actually lose weight. Preparing is good, but you might want to start with something productive first, and then supplement your strategy with other things afterwards.

So keep your plan clear and easy to start. You will also have to stay motivated throughout the whole endeavor, but having a roadmap to guide you through the steps is essential. I will look forward to hearing your success stories at the end 2010!

Happy New Year!