Friday, December 31, 2010

Making your New Year’s resolutions “sticky”

Making your New Year’s resolutions “sticky”

It’s that time of year again when everyone expects you to make some life-changing decisions and finally get your life in order. Your well-meaning friends and relatives may have even made some New Year’s resolutions for you on your behalf… Bless ‘em.

Be prepared: if you tell your friends that you are going to clean out your wardrobe or donate 10% of your income to charity, they may well counter with, “Have you thought about adopting a child from Nigeria?” or “Why don’t you join a gym; then you can wear all your old ‘thin’ clothes again?” Again, Bless ‘em.

It is far easier for your friends to plan your life for you, simply because they do not have to live your life or deal with the consequences of your actions every day. Here are some ongoing resolutions that you may like to use, remembering; it’s your life.

1) Resolve to take it easy on yourself: Don’t aim to run 5 kilometres a day if you are currently doing zero. Start with running to the corner and back, then running around the block. Build yourself up by increasing the distance by 5-10% per day. Aim for incremental improvement, not perfection. An increase of 3% per day will mean 1000% improvement in one year.

2) Pay yourself first. Resolve to set aside 5% of all incoming money and put it into a separate account. After one month, take out half the money and gift it to your favourite charity or spend it on a guilt-free gift for you. After the third month, see if you can increase the 5% to 10%. Surplus funds that are not used for monthly gifting will become the cornerstone of an investment that will bring further income.

3) Listen to the advice of others but then act with your own intuition. It’s your life and you have to live it. Sometimes that means that you have to make your own mistakes and find out for yourself that the stove was too hot to touch. Mistakes are how we learn and our intuition is built up over time. Resolve to listen to what others THINK and then act how you best FEEL.

4) Resolve to pay one random stranger a compliment every single day for 30 days. You can tell the postman you like his hair, tell a lady that she has a nice dress or compliment a motorist on their choice of car. People love to be noticed and if the compliment comes from someone they do not know it makes them feel fantastic. This feeling, in turn, then shines onto you. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” You may receive an increase in confidence from talking to strangers, better self-esteem, or make new friends.

Remember to make it easy, make it incremental and be gentle on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new gym body, your million-dollar savings and investment plan or your new habits will be built one small step at a time. Even a 0.3% daily increase in your health, wealth and relationships will mean that your 2011 will be 100% better in all areas than your 2010!

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