New Years Resolutions generally fail, why? Because they are usually nothing more than a weak willed wish. Actions on the other hand, have direct consequences. Therefore, I implore you to make and do New Years Actions. Right here, right now: start taking action to improve your life and business.
What Are New Years Actions
“New Years Actions” as I call them are, simply put, are actions you will take (hopefully every day) to improve your life and business today, tomorrow and the day after and actually do them by starting to do them right now. I differentiate this from New Years Resolutions by thinking of it this way:
- A New Years Resolution is a year long goal and wish that most people gloss over, forget about and rarely take action on.
- A New Years Actions are something you are doing today to make changes and improvements.
If you think I'm being facetious then look to yourself and around you and ask yourself “who here has made a New Years Resolution and actually stuck to it for a whole year and made significant and lasting improvements”? My guess is not too many people. I'm not different though: last year my New Years Resolution was to lose weight, work out every day, roll out several new products and even finish two books. All on-top of everything else I was doing. Well … that didn't work out. I got burt out and washed up on the shores of solitude rather quickly.
What I realized was that we need goals though we need to take immediate action to attain those goals. Step #1? Take a step one forward.
What I'm proposing for New Years Actions isn't a be a perfect you for a whole year, nah. No one would be able to do that (unless they were already perfect and that's just weird). What I am proposing is this, everyday you:
- Strive to be a better you.
- Make a 1% improvement everyday.
- Work on habits that are good habits geared towards positive change.
- Take positive actions everyday as if you were a better you, and thus you become the self-fulfilling prophesy by being a better you by pretending to be a better you (this is the good ol' ‘fake it till you make it' idea).
- Understand that it's ok to not be at 100% every single day. It's ok to do what you're able to do and be ok with that.
That's not asking much. Looks like a lot of text but all it boils down to in one line is: do things that are making your life better everyday, bit by bit.
That's all. Nothing more. Nothing else.
While I agree with Jedi Master Yoda's methodology of “Do or do not, there is no try”, there is a time and a place for try. You try to get better by taking small actions every day to improve your life.
So let's define what these actions are.
Actions and what they are:
The biggest thing to realize about New Years Actions is that I'm not asking you to make drastic, huge and monumental changes and actions here. Instead of huge steps, big changes and far out wishes, here we focus on the small things that matter. We take small steps forward, every day to make things better. What do I mean by small steps?
Simple: just small things we can actually do to make today better (and with a little bit of luck, it'll make tomorrow better too). Here are some example from my own life:
- Be more attentive to my wife –> I make sure to spend time everyday just chatting with her about whatever comes to mind.
- Play with the dog a bit more each day –> I got him/us a rubber tug of war toy, so I now spend some time playing tug of war with him.
- Focus on the good things in life, instead of the negatives –> If negative things come up, I refocus my view onto the positive version.
- Meditate for a few minutes each day (usually at night for me)
- Follow up with network contacts more often –> I've started using a follow-up system to stay in contact more often and regularly
- Connect (and reconnect) with old clients with targeted ideas, and messages –> I go through my list of clients now and contact them one by one to see what's up and provide them with relevant news articles.
- Look at my “Perfect Me” sheet and try to be that person –> I have a 8.5×11 sheet of paper with everything the perfect me would be and do; I look at this sheet to motivate myself and then I take the actions that day that that person would do. So far, it's working 🙂
Some little actions New Years Actions I take:
- Stretch in the morning.
- I avoid watching tv in the morning (I guess this is more of an anti-action).
- I schedule and have distraction free work time to focus just on business growth actions (so this is really an action in-order to take more action).
- I stand instead of sit (I have a standing desk with a bar stool to sit on if I need to) more often.
- Give my wife a kiss at least once a day just because I can and to show her I care.
- Write content to improve the corporate site bit by bit, and when it's ready publish.
And so on. These aren't big things or changes. They are small, iterative and grow up-on one another.
Here are some ideas for your New Years Actions on taking small itty bitty bite sized steps every day:
- Got unfinished cleaned laundry piling up? Fold/iron 2-3 things.
- Unread email: start by setting up a few basic filters, such as any unimportant email (newsletters for example) automatically go into a newsletter pile and marked as already read so they don't distract you. For any email you need to reply to: start at the top and just reply to a few.
- Unhealthy diet? Pick something healthy you can add into your diet such as more water or even some lettuce (Costco lettuce is great for this as it's pretty darn tasty and cheap!)
- Need to work out? Start by doing mini-yoga or stretches.
- Listen to a motivational, informative or generally positive focused podcast (*hint hint* you can always check out my upcoming podcast at http://piotrkrzyzek.com/podcast). This can be during your morning commute, while you eat or even while on the porcelain throne.
- Give a complement to a colleague or friend: Great dress you're wearing today, great job on that project, Nice shoes!.
- Setup a small part of your budget
- Organize a bit of the messy desk or closet
- Throw old useless junk out (or even better: post some of it on craigslist or ebay to sell it off)
- Drink tea instead of soda
And so on. Just little things here and there.
Try New Years Actions for 30 days, and see how much better you get and feel. This list isn't the same for everyone, and actually: it WILL be different for everyone and will be worded differently for everyone.
If you're more detail focused maybe your items are very small and very well written out tasks. Or maybe your more goal oriented so your ‘actions' are more like mine there it's an idea or ideology to follow day by day. Or even somewhere in between. Doesn't matter how you write it down, or even if you do: what's important is that you do take that better step today. Make 2015 the best year ever with New Years Actions!