This is a guest post by Peter Ruppert.
It’s a new year, a chance for a fresh start, and a time when hope feels renewed for all of us. We can use this season of possibility to create new goals or set new resolutions.
But the vast majority of us know these shiny new intentions may quickly fade as we inevitably settle back into the same life and the same habits we have had for years. And yet, a small minority of us consistently find a way to fulfill our resolutions and realize our goals. What’s the secret that enables some to succeed in making positive change while others see their goals fizzle out? <
From my experience, there are four keys to ensuring our resolutions stick:
1. Connect them to a bigger, longer-term vision.
For resolutions to “stick,” it’s important that they’re a part of a bigger vision. This vision includes how you see your ideal life—both personally and professionally—five, 10 or even 20 years from now. Your vision is best written out and described in as vivid detail as possible so you can regularly revisit it. It should represent something big and excite you when you read it. This is the first draft of your own extraordinary life.
I’ve found it helpful to keep my vision statement in a place where I can easily see it and read it every day. But don’t get too bogged down in getting every detail right before you post yours. Think of it as a working document that you can revisit again and again, making tweaks along the way. The important thing is to simply get your dreams on paper and posted so you can be reminded of them each day.
2. Keep yourself accountable.
We all need what I call “champions” in our lives. A champion is an accountability partner you can count on to encourage your dreams. Champions also provide a safe and supportive environment for honest feedback when things aren’t going well. It’s hard to pursue goals alone, and we all need support, encouragement and accountability from those we trust.
Sir Isaac Newton understood this concept well when he said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Champions are, as Newton said, those who allow us to gain perspective and insight from their first-hand experiences so we can see better, farther. So take this important step of finding someone you trust and can share your goals with. Then, formally ask them to be your champion or accountability partner.
3. Create specific action steps.
When it comes to keeping your resolutions, it’s important to break them down into specific, achievable action steps and small commitments. It’s not enough to generally say “I want to get fit, lose 20 pounds and find a new job” in your head. These kinds of resolutions will just rattle around in your mind and remain unrealized—until they’re written down. They’ll simply last until the next big idea pops into your mind and squeezes them out.
The secret to accomplishing even the biggest goals is breaking them down into small, manageable chunks and focusing on accomplishing each step, one-by-one. Make sure you take the time to break down each of your resolutions into smaller, more manageable action steps that you can address one at a time.
4. Take that first step.
The difference between a resolution that remains a dream and one that becomes a reality is simple: courage. Find the courage to take the all-important first step. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised at the energy and momentum that builds as you flow into steps two, three and four become. Breaking down your goals this way will help you avoid getting overwhelmed by their enormity. On the flipside, if you don’t get started, your commitment toward your goals will quickly and easily wane.
Your first step doesn’t have to be complicated or big. It could simply be telling a friend, a spouse or a partner about your new resolution. Or, it could be solidifying and posting your vision. Regardless of what specific action you choose to take, the important thing is to simply get the ball rolling. From there you can ask, “What’s the next step … And the next?”
About the Guest Post Author:
Peter Ruppert is founder and CEO of Fusion Education Group, which operates over 75 Fusion and Futures Academies for grades 6-12 in one student, one teacher classroom environments. A 20-year veteran of the education industry, he’s opened over 120 schools and acquired more than 25 others. He’s been president and CEO of organizations in the private school, charter school, and early education industries, and sat on his local public school board for 5 years. He lives with his family in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. His new book is Limitless: Nine Steps to Launch Your One Extraordinary Life. Learn more at peteruppert.com.