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6 Ways to Start the New Year Doing Instead of Dreaming

It is the time of year where many people will attempt to develop their New Year’s resolutions. Whether you have one resolution or a thousand, wouldn’t it be a fabulous accomplishment to be able to say to yourself that 2010 was the year you stopped dreaming about accomplishing your resolutions and started to do them?

Dreaming about what you want to get done is not a bad thing, but many of us seem stuck in the days after January 1st thinking about losing weight, starting a business, or saving more of our income instead of making it happen.

To help you start the New Year right, here are 6 ways I have thought of that you make 2010 a year of doing instead of a year of dreaming:

Change Your Mental Map
In the article, “Leading Again for the First Time,” Dr. Chip Souba makes the assertion that “Sustainable success begins with transforming people first by changing their mental maps and thought patterns.” In my studies of success, the people that are most successful are the ones that change their perceptions of what they can do and as Dr. Souba said, change their mental map.

When you change your mental map, you are not changing what you believe to be true or false, right or wrong, but you are changing how you perceive success in accomplishing your goals. Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that our past failures signify future failures. That is a mental map we have created that has now defined our future. When we change our mental map, we realize that our past failures do not define our future and that we can accomplish the goals we set this New Year.

Increase Your Learning on the Subject
For many of us, the New Year gives us a few days of rest before we have to go back to work. This is a good time to sneak into the library and research your resolutions. I personally like to do my research in the libraries of a large public university. There I have access to search tools and databases that allow me to find peer reviewed articles and data on the topics I am researching. For non-research types like me, our local public library can give us access to:

  1. The forms needed to start a business.
  2. Books on how to get our finances in order.
  3. Exercise and diet DVDs, books, and magazines
  4. Online programs to learn a new language, learn about traveling to other countries, develop a resume, and a variety of other self-help topics.
  5. A staff of people that are paid to help you find information.

If you want to kick your New Year off right, then consider heading to the library to get as much information on the topic as you can so you have the information you need to get a fast start.

Eliminate Wasteful Activities
The primary complaints that I hear from people about why they fail to accomplish their goals is that they do not have enough time. This is coming from the people that hit the snooze button 9 times before getting out of bed, watch two hours of TV a night, and spend every 20 minutes checking their e-mail and Facebook status updates.

Spending some time doing a relaxing activity is not a bad thing, but when you are spending over two hours a day playing Farmville, you have some free time to get more done in your life. I recommend that you spend the next few days trying to cut your TV and Internet time in half and spend that time working on accomplishing your resolutions.

Set Realistic Time Horizons
You didn’t put that 20 pounds on in a week, so don’t expect it to come off the day you start your diet.

We live in a world of instant gratification. Due to the pace of our lives, it has become difficult to accept that being successful in accomplishing your goals takes time. If you are looking to lose weight, then give yourself the room to make mistakes over the coming week. Just because you ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t mean all is lost. It just means you need to be realistic about your goal and strive to a long term goal of feeling better and weighing less.

Whether it is a savings goal, business, or personal, we all try to believe that things can change overnight. They can’t, so we need to make sure that we create time horizons for our goals that push us to accomplish them but don’t set us up for failure.

Recruit Others to Your Cause
If you need help losing weight, then join a support group. Trying to save money? Join a savings club. Want to start a business? Then join a local chamber of commerce. For many of your goals, there are free or low cost groups that you can join that create a support network that will help you stick with your goals.

If there isn’t a group available, then try to find an accountability buddy that will push you to stay in line with your goals. This should be someone that you can speak with in confidence that will tell you when you are keeping to your goals or need to get back in line.

Take Action Now
Don’t wait until January 1st to start your resolution. If you want to lose weight, then get your workout clothes on and take a walk. When you return from your walk, throw away all of the junk food in your house, make a menu for the next month, then create a healthy shopping list for the next two weeks.

If you want to save money in the new year, then why don’t you pull out the credit card and bank statements, figure out what monthly expenses can be eliminated, and make the calls to cancel subscriptions, reduce your cell phone bill, and other subscriptions you are no longer using.

Don’t wait for something to happen, the clock to strike midnight, or a mystic vision to reveal what you are supposed to accomplish in the New Year. IF you want to be successful then pick up the phone, get out and start moving, or pick up the pen in write. Whatever you want to do, get out there and do it right now! It is the best way to get you started in accomplishing your goals.

Written on 12/31/2009 by Chris Elliott. Chris helps small businesses figure out what their big idea is, how to get it to market, and how to get people to notice their wonderfulness. He is also a dynamic speaker and trainer in personal growth and public speaking. You can catch him blogging at As A Dude Thinketh. Photo Credit: kkalyan
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