Developing Accountability & Momentum for Resolutions

Goodbye 2012, and hello 2013! 

That time has come again to ritually cap a year gone by... and, perhaps more intentionally, choose how you want your next year to go.

Towards that end, I'd like to share with you a way that you can establish patterns in a new direction that will help you to stay on track towards those New Year's Resolutions.

A 5-Step Process for Turning Resolutions Into Successfully Achieved Outcomes.

Step 1:  Once you decide what you want to achieve, whether it's reducing smoking, or getting fitter by dropping excess weight, or boosting your closing ratio, earning more money, etc... begin by figuring out realistic milestones.  Determine partial goals on the way to larger goals.  Decide what level of results you'd like to achieve, by what dates, and at what rates. 

Step 2:  Develop a way of measuring and tracking that progress, daily, that ensures you continually remind yourself how much and how far you're progressing.  

Here's an example of what has worked well, for me!  I wanted to set up a spreadsheet that somehow tracked everything I wanted to know, about how quickly (or not) I was making progress from a starting point, to an end-goal.  I wanted to know, every day, how many days left I had, until specific known upcoming events came along.  So I created something like the following.

DateDayDays til Event #1Days til Event #2Days til Event #3Current WeightGoal Progress (Weight dropped)Activity/ Exercise
January 1159120365 030 min. elliptical
January 2258119364  45 min. walk, lifting chest/tris
January 3357118363  30 min. elliptical, 30 min. stretch
January 4456117362   
January 5555116361   
March 156061306   
May 1120/0245   


And, it worked!  I used that to track my progress during my Juice Fast in 2012.  Helped me to drop 70 pounds last year. 

What makes the above work?  It's a form of self-accountability.  And it's a daily reminder of where we are in our overall plan.

Every piece of literature you can find on goal setting & achieving suggests you need to know where you're currently at, where you want to get to, and have some way of measuring your progress.  The above chart is one way of providing you all that information, in a daily snapshot.  And it reminds you "here's exactly how long you have, from this day, until when you want that result to be achieved."  Each day that comes along, you'll have reminders like...

  • It's 35 days until that family reunion.
  • It's 72 days until that trip to the Bahamas.
  • It's 112 days until the date of that half-marathon I want to run.

You could even add or change columns that showed how many pounds you still had to lose to get to each dated milestone.  Or how few cigarettes you wanted to use on that day (if you were stopping smoking slowly).  Or how many inches you still wanted to remove from your waist.  Or how many more dollars closer to your sales goals you want to reach.  Or how many new subscribers you want to your lists.  Or how many more books you'd like to sell.  Or how many new friends you want to make to expand your network (whether business or personal).

You get to choose how to set your spreadsheet up!

What are you waiting for? 

Step 3:  If you know (MS) Excel, or (Apple) Numbers, or (LibreOffice) Calc, It should take you less than an hour to set up a spreadsheet like the above, and customize it to your specific needs.  If you know these programs WELL, it should take you about 5-10 minutes to set up such a spreadsheet, because formula short-cuts can speed up all the numeric counting for you.

Step 4:  Print out your tracking progress spreadsheet, and put it somewhere you're going to see it every day.  Allow no excuses here.  Put it on the wall by your scale.  Put it on your refrigerator, or your kitchen cabinet.  Tape it to the side of your monitor, or under your keyboard (sticking out to the side).  Post it next to your vision board (if you have one) at home or in the office.  Have a pen right by it, that stays there.  Keeping a high frequency of visibility is part of what keeps you accountable.  By the way, don't do this as an "app" or a smartphone or tablet document.  Then it would be too easy to close or put away out of view.  Do this "old school."  Paper & pen.  Seen multiple times a day.

Step 5:  Every day, review where you're at, measure your progress, and write in the relevant new details for the current day.  You'll find that before ONE week is out -- if you do this religiously for 1 week, you find yourself starting to look forward to this little ritual!  It'll become a habit with very little additional motivation!

I hope you get immense value from the suggestion above.  Let me know how this works for you, and/or how I can support you through a more prosperout 2013! 

This came from solving a client's challenge!

I've had many coaching clients that kept putting their goals off.  Two in particular that were always 6 months away from achieving their goal.  One of these had a goal of finishing a book.  He was always six months away from finishing his book (which meant, he was always 10 pages into his book, never getting any further).  I designed the above system for him.  And it worked!  Unfortunately I can't quote the author's name, because -- feel free to enjoy the irony at my expense -- he's in the self-improvement industry.  How does someone who's supposed to be an expert at creating change admit he couldn't get his book started for 5 years?

And then, I did what in NLP we consider pretty important:  We "apply to self."  And 70 lbs down, I can attest, the above simple method contributes significantly to success.

Could I be the right Coach for you?

If you think you might need help with achieving specific challenges, did you know that I have coaching clients that regularly call me for 15-30 minute (pro-rated) bits of targeted coaching?  When they're stuck thinking through a challenging problem, I help them get unstuck in minutes, moving forward again, with an extremely useful and new solution.  I help distill the most relevant and important criteria for making decisions, and can rapidly and effectively identify what's distracting you unnecessarily and why.  Then the right decisions usually become obvious.

Providing help as needed without requiring commitments is one of the ways I build strong loyalty from coaching clients. 

In what ways are you not moving forward, that's costing you (or could cost you)?  If you're in a stuck place and don't care one way or the other, then coaching is an expense, not an investment. 

By contrast, if you're stuck... and getting unstuck and moving again fast would prevent losses or other costs, then coaching is an investment, not a cost.  In some circumstances, after doing a simple cost-benefit analysis, coaching is the only smart choice.

Author: Jonathan Altfeld