It’s crazy to think that 2020 is just around the corner. And you know what that means, right? …
“New year, new me!”
But how many years have you said that to yourself, yet never committed to change?How many times have you tried to lose that same 10 pounds or run that same 5k race, only to give up due to a lack of time, energy, and motivation?
Well I’ve been there… over and over and over. But the good new is, I’ve recently developed a 3-part strategy that actually allows me to challenge and change myself, so that I remain committed to goals.
So you want to know the secret, do yuh? Well don’t worry, I listed out the entire process, step-by-step, so you’ll be able to follow along. Initiate these three steps for auditing your habits, and I’m telling you, 2020 will be the last year you make the same new year’s resolutions.
Step 1: Create Clearly and Specifically
This one might seem the most common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people I talk to who don’t create clear and specific goals for themselves. You see, “lose weight” is not a clear goal and “make more money” is not a clear goal. To get clear, you have to get granular and you have to get detailed. And the more specific you get with your goals, the easier it will be to reverse-engineer them to create attainable steps to achieve them.
So instead of saying, “I want to lose weight”, you could say “I want to lose 10 pounds because I am currently at an unhealthy weight”. And even more specific, you could say, “I want to lose 10 pounds over the next 20 weeks.” Now reverse engineer that – what specifically should you do in order to lose 0.5 pounds every week until you reach your goal?
“But Ella, I don’t even know where to start when it comes to creating goals! How can I figure out what to focus on?”
Don’t panic – I gotchu!
I recommend you start by conducting a life audit once a year (mine is currently scheduled for December 18th, 2020). The life audit analyses six different areas of your life: family/relationships, work/business, health, personal development, spiritual, and finances. After thoroughly completing a life audit, you’ll have an easier time narrowing down what you want in the future, and how exactly you can get there. And although you’ll likely extract more than 1 goal from the life audit, I recommend you focus at one goal at a time. And if you want to know the exact step-by-step process (with pictures of course) to conducting a life audit, all you have to do is click here.
It is important for you to do this on a yearly basis, because you need to give yourself 365 days to actually see change. People usually quit on their goals and stop their commitments because they don’t see immediate change. So give yourself a minimum of 365 days before you even consider making unrealistic comparisons and diminishing your progress.
And when you create these goals, write them down. I know you might think writing them out versus storing them in your brain makes no difference, but it truly does. Writing out your goals creates another layer of accountability. Think of writing down your goals like creating a contract with yourself, you’ll always have that contract to re-affirm your actions and make sure they are inline with your future intentions. Plus writing things down helps you retain the information. So if you want to go a step further than simply writing words within your life audit, get creative – draw or cut & paste pictures within the audit. Turn the audit 6 pages of a journal, or create 6 large vision boards for yourself. Your brain remembers visuals best, so if you are going to remember to do anything in life, why not make those things your goals. Eventually the constant reaffirmation of your goals will turn into beliefs, and beliefs turn into actions, and actions create change.
Step 2: Schedule Reflection
This is a crucial step I find people miss. And not completing this step makes falling off track very easy.
Think about this: why do you go to the dentist? Why do you get a physical at the doctor’s office? Why do you go for biopsies, or bone scans, or colonoscopies? Because you want to remain healthy and prevent any decline in your health.
So just like you go to the dentist for cleanings or to the doctor for physicals, you need to schedule self-reflection appointments. This means, 3x a year, you spend one hour analyzing your actions to see if they are on par with reaching your yearly goals. I currently have my appointments scheduled for April 4th, July 4th, and October 3rd 2020.
Unfortunately, humans are not built with automatic self-assessment devices; we do need to take the time and give conscious energy to assessing our actions.
(i) For this appointment, I want you to take-out your life audit and remind yourself of your goal(s).
(ii) Then take out a separate sheet of paper and write down every action you’ve done that either moves you away or moves you closer to your goal(s). You don’t even need to get specific. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds over the next 20 weeks, your “moving-closer” and “moving-further” lists could look like this:
-been going to the gym
-been eating salads for dinner
-been eating baked good on weekends
-been drinking heavily on weekends
Maybe you can’t think of any actions. That tells me you haven’t actually been doing anything to reach your goals. The purpose of the this step is to realize that, sometimes, you may think you are doing something to reach a particular goal, but you haven’t actually been putting in the work.
But maybe you do have some actions, now you need to get more specific and track how often you implement those actions on a daily basis. Maybe your moving-closer actions aren’t being implemented as often as you think. And maybe your moving further actions aren’t inhibiting you as much as you think they are. That brings us to …
Step 3: Track Daily.
Now we are getting tedious. But getting tedious is going to be necessary when trying to change and better yourself.
Sometimes we are making as much change as we think we are. Sometimes we implement good actions like going to the gym, but we only go once a week and when we go, we aren’t optimizing our 1 hours workouts. So to keep yourself accountable on a daily basis, find a system that works for you. The easiest and most effective system I’ve come up with is to magnetize a blank paper to your fridge, and write “y” or “n” if you completed your moving-closer actions that day. Yes it is that simple – it does not take a lot of effort to keep yourself accountable, you just have to incorporate the proper system into your life.
Lists, calendars (I personally use both), ticks on a blank paper, keeping notes in your cellphone, using an app… however you want to track your daily actions, do it and start now. Sometimes you don’t realize you spend 3 hours a day on Instagram until you actually track your screen time. Other times you don’t realize you’re eating 3000 calories until you actually create a food diary.
Based on whatever specific goal you set in step 1, you then need to create tiny action steps and mark down every time you take a step.
“But Ella, I don’t like to create firm goals just in case they change and I need to adapt to those changes. You never know what life will throw at you!”
Listen … I’m not telling you to not be flexible with your goals. But if you want to run the race, you need to know where the finish line is. The same goes for your self improvement. So what I am telling you is to be prepared for change, but also to set your sights on something and do your darn-dest to go for it.
So… as always I hope you have a great day, and don’t forget to make this the year of you.
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.