Whatever your goal may be, and its associated motivation, now the question is: Will this seed take root, blossom and bear fruit? Will your resolve translate into action, and then gain momentum as an ongoing habit? Here are some tips to help you achieve your goals:
1. Follow your bliss. Find and follow the current of your own authentic interest and enthusiasm -- rather than doing something simply because someone else has told you that “it's good for you.” Let's say, for instance, that you're genuinely interested in feeling better physically – and so you make a goal to cultivate a more fit and healthy body. Now it's time to ask yourself: which health-promoting activity do I feel most curious, most excited about exploring? Maybe it's yoga or tai-chi. Maybe it's swimming, or a spinning class. Maybe it's Nautilus circuit training, or free-weights, or kettlebell training. Maybe it's getting out regularly to hike in the mountains, or along the shore of a beautiful lake. Tune into and honor this natural draw to what you're genuinely interested in!
2. Be reasonable. Be bold and courageous in following your bliss – in visualizing your goal – while at the same time eminently practical in taking steps toward its manifestation. Set yourself up for success by creating a workout or class schedule that feels totally reasonable. So for instance, if you decide to add yoga to your life, begin by committing to one or two classes per week – rather than going for seven classes a week, and then feeling discouraged when you need to skip a day.
3. Create action-steps. When you plant a seed, there are certain steps you need to take, in order for the seed to grow. You need to water the seed, and once it sprouts make sure it gets plenty of sunlight. Your goal is like a seed – and specific action-steps are like the water and sunshine that allow the resolution to become a living presence in your life. Write your goal – for instance: “I am cultivating a fit and healthy body” or "I am nurturing loving-kindness, toward myself and others, with every breath I take" -- on a piece of paper, and read it at least once every day. Then insert into your weekly calendar at least two action-steps. For instance: 10am yoga class on Wednesday; or 7pm lap swimming on Thursday.
4. Focus on success. Every day that you remember to read your goal – i.e. to look at that piece of paper (or open the electronic file) upon which it is written – congratulate yourself! And each time that you complete one of your action-steps, do the same: appreciate yourself; express encouragement; shower yourself with gratitude and loving-kindness – for following through on your commitment. This kind of positive self-talk – giving yourself a pep-talk -- will nourish the seed of your goal.
5. Share the journey. Find a friend whose goal is similar to your own – and support one another in following through on your various action-steps. Go to the gym together. Attend classes together. Go on hikes or runs together. In official psychological parlance, this is called having an “accountability partner.” It's all about motivating one another, receiving and offering encouragement, and enjoying the process together.
6. Enjoy yourself! And finally, remember to enjoy each step along the way. While it's beautiful to make resolutions – to have a particular goal in mind, a direction in which you're aspiring to travel – our lives are lived moment by moment. Find a way to be happy, find something to celebrate, right now!
As an example ... if you happen to be aspiring to quit smoking, you could start your journey by download our helpful Are You Ready Checklist here.