Dr. Alok Trivedi is a psychological performance expert, author of Chasing Success and the founder of The Aligned Performance Institute. He says if you really want to play the annual game that most people ultimately lose, at least give yourself a fighting chance by:
1. Not creating vision boards: These should be called nightmare boards. All they do is slap you in the face and constantly remind you of all the things you haven’t been able to accomplish. Staring at million-dollar mansions, Lamborghinis and super fit models with bulging muscles isn’t going to inspire you for greatness. It’s delusional thinking that will leave feeling down on your luck.
2. Starting small: Having a big goal in mind is fine, but realize the best way to be successful is to see it as an incremental process. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. That’s great, but focus on losing 10 pounds at a time. If you constantly look at the big picture you’re going to get overwhelmed. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish and will leave you feeling motivated and inspired to keep moving towards your larger goals.
3. Not waiting until January 1: Why wait until January 1? Thinking you’re going to make a magical change come the New Year is delusional thinking, gives you more time to indulge in the bad behavior and digs a deeper hole. If you’re really serious about making a change, start right now, this very second.
4. Keeping your mouth shut: When you keep your goals to yourself, it creates an inner drive to achieve them. Telling everyone else what you want to accomplish only puts more pressure on you and makes the process much more difficult to manage. If you feel like sharing, tell other people about your failures. It makes you a humbler person. The other reason to speak about your failures is because there is so much learning in failure for yourself as well as those around you.
5. Listening to the negative talk: All the self-help gurus, while well-intentioned, encourage you to only think positive thoughts. This is unrealistic because you’re living in a fantasy world. Paying attention to your negative self-talk is extremely important because it’s trying to break you of your addiction to that fantasy. The key is to be optimistic about what you want while listening to the negative thoughts because it will keep you grounded in reality.
6. Focusing on your ‘why not:’ Most personal development people will tell you to focus on your ‘why.’ Instead, you need to focus on your ‘why not.’ This is the real reason you’re not going after your goals. Until you figure out what’s really holding you back, you can’t have any forward progress.
7. Not comparing your goals to someone else’s goals: This is your life, your goals and your reality. What you want to accomplish in your life is going to be very different from what someone else wants to achieve. For example, in the next few weeks, so many people are going to say they want to lose weight in the new year. Do they really want to lose weight or are they saying that because it’s the popular thing to do? Set goals that are truly valuable to you.
8. Mastering your failures. Master the areas you have failed at by finding out why. Why didn’t you succeed in the past? If you didn’t accomplish your goals last year, figure out what went wrong so you don’t make the same mistakes. Treat your failures as a learning experience to move you closer to success.
9. Starting to focus on the experience, not the goal: It’s not the million dollars that you’re after, it’s the experiences you get to have because of the million dollars. It’s fine to have your goals, but rather than spending so much time obsessed with them, focus on the experience. Every day is a new experience with new people and new adventures. Knowing where you want to go is important, but don’t miss out on the ride.
10. Expecting bumps in the road: Trying to accomplish any goal is a process filled with ups and downs. Most people enter the new year expecting things to just magically change without any effort or obstacles. The person who accomplishes his New Year’s resolutions is the person who overcame the most obstacles.