Implementing change is a common notion for the New Year. Resolutions or better commitments are made to hopefully improve the upcoming year. Statistics show that over half of the commitments (resolutions) made at the beginning of the year are broken within the first six months. So how can we make resolutions that will accomplish the changes we need? Les Brown says, “We may not accomplish every goal we set – no one does – but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly.” In other words, be willing to always get back up no matter how many times you fail. Never give up on your goal.
1. Know Why – I once had a co-worker that did things only because everyone else seemed to be successful at it. He didn’t care if it fit him or not he just did it because it worked for the other person. Our resolutions should not be chosen because someone else is doing it. To be successful it needs to be based on what we really want for ourselves. This is what sets us up for long-term success.
Decide what you really want to achieve and write it down. Self-improvement always starts with the deep concerned about bettering you. Make goals for yourself. Try to be specific and realistic about what you want to achieve. For example: "I want a new job," is an open-ended dream compared to, "I want to work at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, TN as a manager." You increase your chances of success by narrowing down your goals with specific details.
2. Know When – Often times I have set goals at the beginning of the year but had not really set a deadline to when I wanted to reach my goals. This mindset caused many of my goals to be lost and forgotten due to burn out and the daily grind.
Put a time limit on your goals. Sometimes to do this requires you to break up large goals into smaller ones that you can manage and gauge the progress. For example, if you're still in your first year in college, it's not realist to try to graduate this spring. That goal is a process that requires specific steps to achieve. The current goal should be something like, "I'm going to work to get the best grade I can on the upcoming assignment; then I will continue to work hard to do my best in each of my class - even the ones I don't like. Once the basics are covered you can be hopeful for the semester, the year and so on and so forth. Always work to master the step you are on before trying to conqueror the entire flight of stairs.
3. Know Action – Many great plans never get acted upon. I'm sure we know why we should do something different for the New Year and we probably know when we need to have it done, but carrying out the plan is another story. To do what's required to achieve any goal requires long-term diligence. Zig Ziglar said this about action, “Setting goals helps to bring our future into our present because in the present is where we must take action.”
Make every day a day of "action"! Do something that progresses you forward to the desired goal. Even small steps will get you there if you are consistent. Set a regular time to review and evaluate the action to be taken for the day. (Ex. - First thing in the morning, first fifteen minutes in the office, and/or a moment before going to bed.) Don’t be afraid to tweak and refine your goals. Change is inevitable. As you act upon one action step you are bound to learn how to improve the next.
Summary – If you are making or have made resolutions for the New Year and want to be successful, keep in mind - why the change is needed, when the change is best, and decide to continue acting out the desired change no matter how difficult or small the progress. Someone once said, “People with clear written goals accomplish more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” Go reach your goals today!
"The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you (diligently) do.” say’s Bill Phillips. A few months back I was on a three day hiking trip with a group of guys. After the first day, I decided to help with the stragglers at the end of the line to see if I could motivate them to keep pushing towards the goal. After all my encouragement and coaching there was one guy that just wasn't getting it. His comments were continually, “I’m trying, but it’s too hard." He wanted to quit so bad that he just sat on the ground refusing to continue. Now this wouldn't have been too bad but the rest of the group wasn't stopping and we were in the middle of no where with several miles to go before a rest point. After several hours of "I can't....", I replied with, “Don't say, I can't any more! You CAN put one foot in front of the other! You CAN make it!"
We can be the same way with our goals, stuck in the "I can't" and going no where. When we are in that zone we cancel our own abilities and opportunities to succeed. The only thing that will help us reach the success we desire is all in diligence. Diligence is the continual persistent effort we put into each step that's required to be successful. Let's look at three concepts of being diligent.
1. Constancy – If we want to get strong results, we must be willing to consistently overcome strong challenges. The hiker in my story wanted to reach the goal but he didn’t want to overcome the constant struggle of making the steps in his mind that he could do it and then put his feet to do what his mind had established to on the ground.
Constantly carrying your load and doing what you might not feel like doing is a part of being diligent. Face your obstacles and learn to overcome them. Don't be afraid to mess up and fail, but don't fail to get up, learn from it, and try again. Develop the constant “I can do it attitude” all the way, continuously pushing and pulling yourself to be better than who you were the moment before. This is your way to long-term success.
2. Meticulous – A great writer once said, “Winners actually do sweat the small stuff; because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.” So often it's easy to pass over the hard stuff to avoid conflict but passing a step can be detrimental to long-term success. We must keep the details in view of what we are doing.
Be diligent about covering the right details. Comb through the details and align yourself with the requirements. Schedule time to reflect on the details. As you develop this skill you will learn that the details do matter in your daily journey to success.
3. Hard work – David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” We have become numb to the concept of "hard work". If we were honest we probably would turn the other way if we saw difficulties coming. However, to obtain success we must be ready to work hard. We must be willing to bleed, feel uncomfortable, and be hurt a little for what we desire. I’m convinced that the faster we accept hard-work the quicker we can achieve our goals.
Overcome your fear of hard-work by embracing the challenge. Seek to gain an understanding of the reward for the effort. Keep in mind, if hard work is done in the wrong direction it can cause you to arrive at the wrong place. Therefore, make sure your hard work is on point by continually aligning yourself with your goal. Remember, the amount of harvest is determined by the amount of hard work you put into cultivating, planting, and nurturing the right things.
Summary – Diligence is the constant, meticulous, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Achieve your success by diligently applying the right details to the proper tasks for success. Be diligent!