What is your progress towards your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you still on track?
After several conversations recently about people’s New Year’s Resolutions, it seems that already people are falling off track. 6 weeks into the New Year, and already for many people this year will be much like last year. And with that alarming realization, I thought it worth investigating what is derailing people from their goals.
What I found is that the list of excuses is surprisingly short, yet alarmingly consistent. Here are the top 3 that I found during this informal survey:
- Not enough time
- Too exhausted after work
- Not that important to me anymore
Not Enough Time
Perhaps the most pernicious of all excuses is the Not Enough Time excuse. This excuse is so damaging, and so widespread, because it is easy to rationalize. If only we had more time, we would easily be able to work on our goals. When we spout this excuse in a conversation, other people immediately relate, and hence we are let off the hook for our own shortcomings. Unfortunately, there is simply no more time in each day.
If time isn’t the answer, where does the answer lie?
While there are many solutions, let’s look at one in particular: the way you track time, your calendar. If your goal is important, you need to allocate time in your calendar to its achievement. While you can’t find more time, you can certainly control how you spend what limited time you do have.
What time in your calendar will you block off for achieving your goals?
Too Exhausted After Work
The next excuse has to deal with energy. After a long day at work, the amount of willpower and physical energy required to work on our goals simply isn’t there. Understanding how your body works, when you experience the most energy, is important to optimizing your routines.
For me, I have the energy to work on my fitness goals early in the morning. As such, I have aligned my schedule to allow time for the gym before the workday begins. This all begins with a good night’s sleep, allowing me to be rested when I wake up early, and then awake by the time I reach the gym after a light breakfast. Advancing my knowledge through reading comes over lunch and at right after dinner, allowing me ample time to process the information and wind down before bed in the evening.
There’s quite a lot of science and research done in the realm of energy management. Here’s a few key take-aways that you should apply to your life to find greater success:
- It all starts with a good night’s sleep. 8 hours is recommended for almost everyone.
- Understand your energy and stress levels, and work the gym into your schedule. You should aim to workout when you have energy, and to relieve stress.
- Energy is a function of sleep and diet, make sure you are eating healthy foods! Eat foods that make you happy and healthy, just understand how your diet affects your energy levels.
Being too exhausted is often a symptom of not understanding how your energy works. Designing your lifestyle and achievement around your energy will help you reach greater levels of success.
Not That Important To Me Anymore
Another big reason I heard about why people weren’t sticking with their resolutions was that their goal simply wasn’t that important anymore. There were two main reasons for this. First, their resolution was made under the pressure, and having just heard, someone else’s resolutions. This led them to the trap of “that sounds good, I’ll do that too”. I see this all the time, people buying certain items, or trying to do or become certain things because they see someone else doing it successfully.
The second reason people’s resolutions end up neglected is that they have cast a wide net. Their goals are to become as ripped as Arnold Schwarznegger, as zen-like as the Dalai Lama, as rich as Warren Buffet, and as successful as Richard Branson. Becoming known for any one of those areas requires years of intense focus. Having a goal to achieve world renowned excellence in all areas means none of the areas will receive the focus it needs.
We all need goals in 6 key areas of our lives, physical, financial, mental, career, relationships, and romantic. But trying to achieve everything, in all of these areas, will lead us to achieving mediocre results across the board. Understanding what is important to you, and focusing on that will lead to greater success. Of all the excuses, the not that important anymore excuse is the most valid. But only if conscious thought is put in to determine where your priorities are.
To avoid this excuse in the future, you need to become clear on what you want, and why, before you set your goals and resolutions.
What is most important to you? What areas of your life are you okay with good, but not world-class results in?
Knowing how to structure your routines will help you manage your time and energy. This will ensure that when you are most alive, most focused, most energetic, that you are focused on the most important thing. Deciding what is most important to you, and setting the right goals is half the battle. Organizing your day according to your energy and focus will bring execution to your best laid plans. And that, is a recipe for success.