Learn a simple trick to staying on track with your New Year’s Resolutions and enter to win a Goal Setting/Tracking 2014 Calendar in today’s blog!
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While putting together the annual photo calendars for the grandparents this year, it hit me how much I love this time of year. Not only for the parties and family gatherings, but also because this time of year gives me a chance to reflect on the past 12 months and how I’ve lived them. Did I reach any of the goals I set last year at this time? What have I learned? How have I loved? Have I made a difference?
This year was an exceptional year for me. I’ve lost 50 pounds since May, paid off more than $20,000 in debt, taken on two new paid writing positions, all in addition to continuing to be a working mom of 3 and wife. What made this year different than the rest? How did I achieve such big goals in the past few months compared to the decade of years I set the exact same goals and never reached them?
I believe it is because I shifted my mindset. I focused on taking the
Dave Ramsey “baby step” approach to debt payoff and applied it to my weight loss and writing, with a Jerry Seinfeld twist.
Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball starts with picking the smallest most manageable debt you have and throwing the coals to it until it’s paid off, then rolling that payment into the next smallest debt until it’s paid off. Your monthly payment grows bigger and bigger every debt you erase until the whole stinking money mess has been cleaned up. Jerry Seinfeld’s advice to someone about becoming a great comedian was to write better jokes, and the way to write better jokes was to write every day. He instructed his student (for lack of a better word) to get a big year at a glance calendar, hang it on the wall, and cross off every day he wrote with a big red X. The one and only goal: Don’t break the chain.
For me, applying the baby step/chain philosophies to my non financial goals looked like making consecutive tiny commitments to myself. They were small enough promises that I could remain consistent. But as small as they were, they compounded into a massive snowball effect.
I started out committing to myself that I would attend 52 Weight Watchers meetings in a row, without missing a week. It didn’t matter if I was up or down, tracked my points or not, or exercised or not. I promised myself I’d show up no matter what, and scheduled it on my calendar. If I was traveling and have a conflict with my regular time, I found another meeting to attend instead. My goal was to not break the chain. That commitment grew into monthly 5K’s, deciding to join the Master’s Swim team at my gym, and personal weight training sessions 2x per week.
Goal Tracking Tools to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Winning Streak Going:
I read the book START by John Acuff this summer which led me to becoming part of the 5:00 Club. Everyone is busy and we all struggle to find time to work on our goals. I could be selfish with my time and work on my goals at 5:00 am when I wouldn’t be inconveniencing the family. It was my time when I could punch fear in the face on my writing goals.
I used the Free iOS 5clubapp and became addicted to it. It allows you to “punch in” between 5:00 and 5:01 am. If you miss it the punch-in, you break your streak. The streak is addicting, you won’t want to break it. It’s motivating to look at the timeline and see someone who has kept a very long streak going.
I’m no longer using the app since I’m in the pool at 5:00 am many mornings, unable to check in, but it initially helped me find time to focus on my goals.
Another awesome similar (although not free) iOS app is Commit. It allows you to fill in the blank, “I will ____ every day.” You can also set it to remind you at a specific time each day in case you forget. The goal is to get as many days in a row as possible.
If you’ve got an Android phone, the MyChain app looks like a great alternative.
I also created a Free Google calendar to track my workouts, swimming schedule, Weight Watcher’s meetings, 5K’s that I committed to each month, etc. It was effective, and setting “appointments” with myself with reminders helped me to stay on track.
If you’re more of a visual, not techie person, I highly recommend a wall calendar that has all 12 months of 2014 at a glance. You could print one yourself, but I wanted something bigger with more space. The one I ordered is from NeuYear.net and I absolutely love it. I ordered two, one for planning life, and one for tracking my goals. (Here is a 10% off discount code to NeuYear.net)
They are double sided with a horizontal calendar on one side and a vertical calendar (that fits perfectly on a door) on the other. The months run into each other with no gap between the end of one month and the start of the next month.
Win this Calendar and Make 2014 Your Year!
Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions
Enter your email below to receive weekly motivation, strategies, and inspiration to rock your resolutions this year & a chance to win a 2014 Goal Planning calendar ($24 Value)!
This is the exact same calendar I’m using this year! You’ll love it, I promise!
Winner will be chosen January 1, 2014 and notified via email.