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Set Yourself Up for Success!

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2011. A whole new year to do with as we will. There will always be the necessary tasks and responsibilities that need to remain on our radar somewhere, but what about all the rest of our time?

I heard a statistic over the holidays that of all the people who know that they need to make changes in their own lives, only about 20 percent actually make the effort to make those necessary changes happen. Only 20 percent! So, what happens to the other 80 percent, ay? Apparently, about 80 percent of all those who know they need to make changes choose not to. They choose not to. Why is that? Too difficult? Too much energy required? Too afraid of what those changes will lead to?

Would these 80 percent rather stay in a certain realm of familiarity with unhappiness or unrealized potential, than to push their current boundaries and explore their own higher levels of potential greatness?

So, on which side of the line do you fall: are you one of the 20 percent, or one of the 80 percent?

Resolutions. Are you a resolution maker? How about a resolution keeper? Do you write them down? Just tell them silently to yourself in your own head? Does labeling something a resolution add pressures to you that inhibit your progress, or does it motivate you? What about accountability. Do you have anyone you remain accountable to—yourself, or otherwise?

I feel that resolutions/goals/whatever you choose to call them can be incredibly useful, if used properly. Like anything else, if they’re used inappropriately or abused, they tend to work against us. So, if you’ve had issues with resolutions in the past, maybe it’s not the actual act of making resolutions that’s the problem.

What exactly do I mean by this? Well … below are a few checkpoints to help better illustrate this idea.

1. Is your resolution for you or for them?
Is the item on your list because you want to make the change or adjustment in your life, or is the item on your list because someone else wants you to make the change, and/or you feel like you’re supposed to make the adjustment?

You’re not going to be able to succeed at making big changes to yourself unless you are the person you’re changing for. Outside people can act as a catalyst for us to desire the change, but in the end we need to be the one who wants the changes. Without this foundational component in place, any plan you build up to lead your toward success will eventually crumble—as all things built upon weak foundations eventually do.

Say your goal or resolution is to lose weight, as so many people’s top resolution is. For starters, do you actually want to lose weight, or do you feel that you’re supposed to want to thanks to the magazine covers and beautiful celebrities (When they themselves don’t even look as good as their own magazine covers)?

2. Are you making the resolutions manageable, or setting yourself up for failure?
Are you creating goals that make you stretch past your current boundaries a little bit? Or are you creating goals that require you to basically change everything in one swoop? Are you willing to really create a plan for achieving your goals? Or are you just going to sit back and wait for them to just somehow work out for you, all the while reserving the right to become utterly bummed out when you don’t achieve them, but ignoring your own part in that lack of success?

You never work out, but want to get into it. Are you going to plan to work out two times a week to start, giving yourself room to build up from there? Or are you going to plan to work out every single day? Which of these plans—just from looking at them at face value—do you think is setting you up for success, and which is setting you up for failure?

Work with yourself—not against!

3. Are you allowing yourself to be human—to let change feel possible, or are you pretending you’re perfect—which then makes change feel utterly out of reach?
When you do miss that day of working out, do you give yourself a break and then just make doubly sure to get in your workout tomorrow? Or do you beat yourself up, eat a big unhealthy meal because I’ve already messed up anyway, and then make no extra effort the next day to get to the gym because I missed yesterday, so what’s the big deal if I miss one more day?

The distance between you and success just continues to grow wider and more overwhelming. Before you know it—you’ve talked yourself out of working toward the goal that you laid out for yourself.

You can’t go zero to sixty in a day. You must build up momentum. To allow yourself to do this you must first give yourself the permission to be human.

4. Do you have some system of accountability in place?
When you make progress or fall a bit behind, is there someone or some place you go to share this information? When you have people cheering on your progress, you tend to want to work that much harder to accomplish the goals. In the same vein, when you have people you have to keep updated on your progress (or lack there of), you tend to want to make sure you keep pushing forward because you don’t want to deal with disappointing yourself or anyone else.

5. Timetables really can make all the difference.
We feel like we have nothing but time. This is such a dangerous mentality. It allows us to become very passive with our pursuits of anything.

No matter how much time we were given to write a paper in college, we always waited until the last minute anyway, right? Why? Because we always had others things we’d rather be doing, and we felt like we had nothing but time to get the paper done. This little game remains the way we tend to operate.

For example: I want to lose weight by 2012. Without some kind of timetable to keep you on track, this seems like a wickedly daunting goal, which tends to cause great trepidation when trying to move forward on it.

6. Backtrack to create mini goals.
This directly ties into the previous point. If your overall goal is lose weight by 2012, maybe you’d want to backtrack to see what you’d need to be doing right now to make that happen. From there, you can continue to create a handful of smaller goals that will lead you up to you biggie at the finish line.

Focus your attentions on the steps that lead up to your grand desire, so that you can actually allow yourself to build up the momentum required to achieve it.

Get a gym membership. Start taking one yoga class a week. Stretch every morning. Drink lots of water. Lose ten pounds by March 2,etc. From there, you can always build up. Two months later you might be taking three yoga classes a week, altering how you eat, walking daily, etc.

Start small and focused. There is always room for expansion.

Well, I think that’s a digestible sized gaggle of suggestions for setting yourself up for success in this new time of goal setting and resolution making. Good intentions may cause you to create the resolutions, but if you don’t put in more effort just for the planning of your success, then you certainly aren’t going to put in more effort for the actual execution of the resolutions. So, how could you expect to actually achieve any success?

Change is scary. But, what change has to offer us can be so incredibly awesome that it becomes beyond worth it in the end. You just gotta set yourself up to succeed rather than to fail. No more self-sabotage!

Oh, and one more tip:

7. Don’t let others bring you down.
If you have a rockin’ goal laid out for yourself, and others hear it and bust your chops, laugh, tell you you’re never gonna do it—it’s probably because they’re incredibly jealous of the idea of you succeeding at it, and they really wish they themselves were working towards that same goal, or one similar to it in some way.

Don’t let others bring you down! Find the people who support your goals, and walk on past those who pollute you potential with negativity.

There will always be people who want to bring you down and spoil your grand dreams, which is all the more reason why you really do need to be your own biggest supporter.

Set yourself up for success! It’s totally possible. It really is.

Just some things to think about …

Have some goals or resolutions you’d like to share? Need another cheerleader on your side while you work to achieve it/them? I’m totally here for you!

With passion and gratitude,


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