Saturday, January 02, 2010

How to Make Resolutions that Stick

I'm not preaching this week. It's amazing what I have time for when I don't have to prepare a blogging. I would like to do it more.

I get blog updates from Michael Hyatt, president of Thomas Nelson books. Today he sent out a helpful post on how to make your New Year resolutions actually happen. I thought you might appreciate his advice...

In order to make your resolutions stick, you need to employ four strategies:

  1. Keep them few in number. Productivity studies show that you really can’t focus on more than 5-7 items at any one time. And don’t try to cheat by including sections with several resolutions under each section. This is a recipe for losing focus and accomplishing very little. Instead, focus on a handful of resolutions that you can almost repeat from memory. Mine fit on one 4″ x 6″ card.
  2. Make them “smart.” Resolutions are really just annual goals. But like all goals, they should be s-m-a-r-t:
    • Specific—your goals just identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.
    • Measurable—as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
    • Actionable—every resolution should start with a verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.)
    • Realistic—you have to be careful here. A good resolution should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.
    • Time-bound—every resolution needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that resolution. It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (March 31).
  3. Write them down. This is critical. There is a huge power in writing your resolutions on paper even if you never develop an action plan or do anything else. Henriette Anne Klauser documents this in her fascinating book, Write It Down and Make It Happen [affiliate link].
  4. Go public. Tell your family and friends what you are committed to achieving. Better yet, post your resolutions on your blog like my son-in-law did. Going public creates accountability and leverage. Several years ago, I blogged about my goal to run a half marathon. Once I did that, there was no turning back. People would ask, “So how’s your training going?” I wanted to have a good answer, so I would haul myself out of bed and go run.
  5. To illustrate, I have five resolutions for this year:

    • Read through the entire Bible by December 31, 2010.
    • Finish the second draft of my new book by March 31, 2010.
    • Mentor eight men, once a month, beginning on January 12, 2010.
    • Write 208 blog posts (four per week) by December 31, 2010.
    • Run the Country Music Half Marathon on April 24, 2010.
You can read the full post here.

Michael's blogsite home is here.