I bet you are all enthusiastic during these first days of the year honing and following-up on your resolutions or intentions for 2015. We are fortunate to experience this refreshing air at the beginning of each year. Nevertheless, it is not rare that after a few days, we may deviate from our desired direction when we are pulled into old ways by the “noise” of everyday life.
Fortunately the power is within you to reset and strengthen the plan to achieve your intentions. I am sharing 5 concepts to move you in the direction you desired when you set intentions or resolutions. Each concept comes with tips for application.
1.- Key Connected Intentions: Why intentions? Because they are like a compass that sets the direction where you want to move (regardless of some deviations along the way!). Whatever word you choose (intention or resolution) it must resonate with you, as you are the one who will carry them on. It is vital that your intentions are connected with your bigger purpose. When connected with your relevant purpose or mission in your profession, life or other areas, the intentions become part of your whole plan. This interconnection turns your intentions into a source of inspiration and you become pulled by them instead of seeing them as chores. How many intentions to set: Try setting no more than 3. This may not seem ambitious enough, but wouldn’t you feel satisfied if you change your life in those 3 key aspects by December 2015? Here the goal is about quality and not quantity.
How to set Key Connected Intentions:
- Keep them in a visible place (i.e. bathroom cabinet, in your desk, refrigerator), so you can see and connect with them regularly.
- Phrase them in a way that expresses the benefit each provides, linked to your overall direction.
- Connect with your intentions by creating images of how you will act, look or feel upon their achievement. Revisit those images three times a day every day (before getting out of bed, at lunch time and when going to bed).
2.- Flexible Goals: Now comes the time to set specifics about your intentions and be flexible. Set specifically the number of times or target you want to achieve as evidence of attaining your intentions by year-end. Introduce flexibility by setting a range for each of them. Bear in mind that you will want to split these targets into milestones to help you to periodically monitor your progress towards your goal.
How to secure Flexible Goals:
- Set your goal as a range, so by achieving even the lower level you will advance in the direction of your goal!
- Be prepared to compensate your missing actions in a week with extra actions during neighboring weeks.
3.- Behaviors to support intentions: for each intention identify two or three relevant behaviors that support the achievement of the respective goal. Focus on strengthening those behaviors and habits and you will help yourself in the achievement of your goals. In case you identify habits that work against your goals, be creative, and come up with replacing habits that pull you out from the pervasive ones.
How to set Behaviors to support intentions:
- Create a structure (i.e. set an alarm, set time apart in a calendar, ask someone to call you, commit with someone) that reminds you to behave in a way that supports your intentions.
- Adjust the behavior to the conditions (i.e. time of the day) that are easier for you to implement it.
- Find a buddy with whom you can share your desired behaviors and can act as an accountability partner.
4.- Monitor and Readjust progress as necessary: Set apart 5 minutes first thing every Wednesday morning (in the middle of the week) and every Sunday evening to Monitor and Readjust how are you working towards your intentions during and by the end of the week. Also set 15 minutes in the middle and in the end of each quarter (every six weeks) to monitor your progress in your goals and readjust as necessary.
How to Monitor and Readjust progress:
- Be playful. Set a different alarm on Wednesday mornings and Sunday Evenings to remind you of the time to Monitor and Readjustment. What about setting a song that you relate with this review? And remember to set the 15-minute period every six weeks for a longer-term review (and reward! As you will see below).
- Be firm and kind when you review your achievements. Rather than reprimanding yourself when failure occurs, focus your energy on the adjustment that you want to implement to resume your advance towards your goal.
5.- Reward: Yes! You also have the duty to reward yourself after being a good!!! You can create on a frequent basis (i.e. daily or weekly) certain structures to reward you for achievements.
For the periodic six-week review, give yourself something bigger. Preferably connected with your goal to motivate you to continue working in the same direction.
I wish you much success with your persistent work towards the achievement of your goals. If your intentions sound too personal (not work related), that is great! After all, I bet the achievement of your intentions will make you the better person that your profession is yearning for!
All the best exercising your power to make of this a great year!!!
Landing the concepts:
Following is an example of how I am applying these concepts to one of my goals:
1. Key Connected Intention: Bring my weight to a level where I feel more energy (instead of phrasing it as just loosing weight).
2. Flexible Goal: I will reduce my weight between 15 and 20 pounds by December 2015.
3.- Behaviors to support the goal:
- I will set an alarm and set apart time in my calendar to remind me of the 4 – 5 times a week that I plan to go swimming or do another form of exercise.
- I will go swimming early in the morning or at lunch, as I generally skip my swimming if I let it to the evening.
- I will have something sweet only after my dinner.
- I will use the “Rocky” theme song on Wednesdays and Sundays to remember that it is time to monitor and readjust the behaviors towards my intention.
- When I fail to go swimming, I will identify why (for example: acknowledge my failure to respect my swimming time as a result of engaging in a call that came right before I was leaving for the pool).
- I will put a star sticker in each day of the calendar that I exercise. And I will put my calendar in a visible place!
- If I loose 3 pounds by February 15, I will buy myself the swimming bag that I have in mind. If I loose 4-5 pounds by March 31, I will treat myself with a massage.