I don’t subscribe to New Year Resolutions. Diets, gym memberships, getting more sleep, spending less, saving more, etc. are common resolutions. Yet research confirms that even the best of intended resolutions are not sustained and eventually lose steam. Or, even worse, become a predisposed set-up for failure.
I do subscribe to commitment and discipline. Commitment defined as dedication to a cause; discipline as a system of behavior. I find this combination to be liberating while also creating wealth. Liberating because we are free to choose and pursue what matters most to us; creating wealth – as true wealth is discretionary time – as a means to accomplish those things that matter.
The KEY is to choose and establish a laser-like focus on just a few things, make a commitment to each, and then exercise daily discipline (emphasis on daily) until the desired results become evident. A self-fulfilling prophecy and positive reinforcement in action.
Complete this simple 2-minute exercise: Get a small piece of paper – 3M Post-it® notes are perfect – and write three, and only three things that you want to accomplish today. I understand there may be other important things on your ‘to do list’, but I am asking you to choose only three that truly matter the most to you. Post or carry it with you as a reminder of your commitment and discipline yourself to complete each item. At the end of day, assess your results. Upon completing these three items, you will feel great about your achievement. I know this is simple, but it works. In the end, don’t we want to set ourselves up for success?
Tips for ‘What Matters Most’ Commitments:
- Set the bar high, but set fewer goals that include 1) a concise description of the desired results 2) simple metrics to evaluate progress toward or achievement of the results and 3) a clear description of the impact (i.e. value of the results).
- Get clear on what you will firmly commit to do and what you will firmly commit not to do. Jim Collins, in his seminal book, Good to Great, suggested that the discipline of what not to do is equally important, or perhaps even more important, than the discipline of what to do.
- Ask yourself this question when setting goals. Will the time, energy and resources required yield a simple, substantive and sustainable solution, result, outcome, etc.? If not, then keep asking the same question until you can honestly say “yes” without any reservation.
- Take an inventory of the goals you have set in the past. Ask yourself what factors contributed to the accomplishment of the goals. Conversely, for those goals not accomplished, the question is the same only what factors contributed to the goals not being achieved. The objective of the later is not to beat yourself up, but rather to raise awareness. The results of this simple inventory can be very revealing and help with setting the bar at a realistic and achievable level. Thus, setting ourselves up for success while also mitigating the potential for failure.
- Engage support from others – friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc. Chose not only individuals who will encourage, affirm and celebrate your progress but also those who will be brutally honest and hold you accountable to your commitments.
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