In the spirit of the New Year, this week’s 5 Things is about resolutions. And I’ll start by saying that I don’t actually believe in New Year’s resolutions. I never have. I’ve always thought that if you want to do something, you do it. It shouldn’t be about a time of year.
But to be honest, I was kind of full of it. Until this year. I wanted something and I’m lucky enough to have made it happen. But it wasn’t all luck. Here are 5 things that helped me make a change and make it stick.
Want It. Real Bad.
Nobody ever quit smoking or lost weight because they thought it might be a nice thing to do. Nobody climbed Everest because they thought it would be a good way to pass a Saturday. Every travel blogger or long term traveler I know has been told countless times, “I wish I could travel like you.” And we all have the same reaction. “You can.” I hate to shatter the allusion, but we aren’t special. We just wanted it more than you. People who lose a bunch of weight haven’t found some magic secret. They just wanted it. And they did it.
If you are setting a resolution or want a change, think about if you really want it. Are you ready? Do you want it bad enough to follow through?
Say It Out Loud. Or Online Out Loud.
Once you know you want it enough, shout it from the rooftop. Or at least from your status. Saying it out loud or online to your network is the important step of making a verbal or written commitment to the goal, and making it public. A lot of people skip this step because they don’t want to be embarrassed if they don’t achieve their goal, not realizing that it’s an important step to making it happen.
And then keep saying it. The more you say it, the closer your get. You will get better and better at articulating it. You will get laser-focused on achieving it and you’ll hear your own voice on your shoulder when distractions come up.
By the time I launched my campaign and especially by the time I left, there was not a person who’s met me who didn’t know what was going on. It was probably pretty annoying, but hey, here I am.
Make a Plan.
Hope isn’t a strategy. Make a plan. What adjustments do you need to make to your daily schedule? Who do you need to spend more time with? Less time with? What are your check-in points? If you have a major-huge-mega goal (like, say, visiting every country in the world), how can you break it down in to smaller pieces (e.g. how much money do I need to sort for the first year of travel)? Plans are key to success, BUT, don’t let planning get in the way of the doing. Waiting on a perfect plan will leave you waiting forever.
Write it down. Say it out loud. Get people in on it.
Get Your Friends in On It.
For some reason, your friends like you. And that means they want to see you succeed. And that means they want to help you succeed. It’s their job. We know that having a gym buddy works because it increases your accountability and you get to spend time with your friends. Which is a bonus because you like them too. Be explicit with how they can help you – they aren’t mind readers (actually, if they are, that’s pretty sweet – stay friends with them). Do you need someone to ask you once a week how you’re progressing? Someone to join with you? Someone to talk to when you’re struggling? (p.s. you are going to struggle)
You are going to be floored by the way that friends and family and even strangers come together to help.
Be grateful. DO NOT FORGET THIS. Anyone who helps deserves your appreciation and show it. They helped you do whatever it is you wanted to, remember that. Obviously that means you thank them. But it also means that you give it back and give it forward.
Do I have time falling out of my pockets to help people who have questions about how I did what I did? No. Do I stay up until 5:00 am to respond to FB posts and messages and emails and questions? Yes. Not because I’m this philanthropic St. Theresa travel angel. But because it’s fair (and polite). I have been given so much support and guidance, I owe it to the community and my network to pay it back.
“Ain’t nothing left to it, besides to do it.” Jake Worthington
Here’s the deal. Change is hard. And sometimes it sucks. And sometimes it doesn’t work. And sometimes it hurts. But sometimes it does work, and it’s mind-blowing, life-changing, amazing.
Now you’ve set a goal, shouted from the rooftop, made a plan, gotten your friends in on it – jump off the cliff! I went with a group to the “Grand Canyon” of Thailand last week where you can relax in the water and go cliff jumping. We all talked about which jumps we wanted to do and climbed out of the water. Two of my friends got to their jumps and made the cliff jumping cardinal mistake, they looked down. Both of them approached the edge, walked back, went to the edge again and tried to psych themselves up. Both of them were annoyed, but impressed, when a badass let’s say 7 year old girl came up beside each of them and jumped fearlessly into the water. Both jumped, eventually, and were happy they did.
After you’ve made the plan, you just have to jump.
Don’t give up. Even when you mess up. Not if, when. Say your goal is to not eat chocolate for a year. And whoopsies, Easter came around and that Cadbury cream egg looked so delicious. And it was. That doesn’t mean you scrap the whole goal and give up. It means you’re a human being, you died a little of pure elation inside while that chocolate melted in your mouth, and then, you suck it up and get back to it.
Resolutions, right? What have you done to get them to stick?