One moment I'm happily loving Christmas and plans for the New Year are merrily bouncing around in the back of my head and I'm constantly saying to myself "that's a good one to add to the list" and then suddenly it's the first week of January and my list exists in my head only and hasn't made it way on to paper. Then once I commit it to paper it's a whole raft of tasks from "sort out coat cupboard" to "learn Spanish". It's amazing that one person's head can come up with such an array of activities - all with a deadline of 29th February (this being a leap year). It's no wonder that hopes and dreams are left strewn along life's highway like long forgotten toys by the time March comes around.
But not this year.
This year, I'm going to engage in the post second world war Japanese practice of Kaizen. It simply means "improvement" and the philosophy is based around taking small steps every day to create big and everlasting change. It is the polar opposite to what we have come to expect in our Western culture - "big change, now". We are fed that promise over and over again by manufacturers of beauty and weight loss products, get rich quick schemes and immediate (if not lasting) satisfaction from fast food and "stuff". In our most logical and reasoning state we all know that change comes at a price (sacrifice) and over time but we are constantly swayed and cajoled into believing and trusting that instant gratification and a then quick fix is the solution. Well I've decided to shut my ears and eyes to that and stick to what I know works. I understand that I won't see results straight away but actually that's not how I choose to measure my success. I choose to measure it instead by seeing small incremental improvements consistently throughout the year. I plan to change just one small thing every month which I'll hardly notice but I'll have enough time to make it part of my routine and for it to become a habit. By December, I'll have 12 positive changes that are part of my life and together they'll make a huge impact. Imagine that. I intend to that in both my personal and professional life and to motivate/inspire you, here are mine for the next 6 months (I plan to review my success in June and write the next 6 then).
January - no alcohol (may as well, everyone else has given up too)!
February - walk for 30 mins every day (I am giving myself a month to learn how to use my FitBit)!
March - have a green juice 3 times per week
April - write a daily gratitude journal
May - attend a writing class once a week
June - drink 2 litres of water a day
You can see that health and wellbeing is my overall goal for 2016 and although each new monthly "habit" is quite small and tempting to do all at once, from past experience, I know that by March I won't even be doing the basics and I will again be overwhelmed by feelings of failure, followed rapidly by feelings of guilt and truthfully, no good ever comes from those pits of despair. You might also note that apart from January where I've given up alcohol, none of the changes are negative - e.g. stop eating chocolate, give-up bad habit A; it's a much more positive experience to add things when it comes to health and you're therefore much more likely to stick to them and succeed.
January - keep a weekly spread sheet of costs and income (my tax return this month has highlighted the advantages)
February - map out my monthly Facebook campaign and schedule posts by 5th of each month
March - check my online presence - shops, Facebook, website etc. to ensure it's up to date and relevant
April - research 3 competitors each month to ensure my offering is in line with other offerings on the market
May - attend 2 online webinars per month relevant to my business
June - publish one course or training video to the member's lounge to ensure new and inspiring content for members
To be honest, most of these I already do but too haphazardly to bring about lasting change and real benefit and the reason for writing them here is to do them more consistently and with purpose. I often find myself putting out a Facebook campaign because I haven't for a while and I know I should but really it's not serving a purpose or helping anyone - I really want to stop doing that!
I would love to know what goals you have planned for 2016 and what approach works for you. Put it in your comments below and share your success with us!
Wishing you every success this year and until next time, keep creating!