Make an Action Plan, Not a Resolution (Part III)

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One month into the new year, it’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of your resolutions. But, it’s precisely that reason that implementing systems—positive, sustainable changes—in our lives is so important. If you find you’re struggling to stay motivated, you may just need to adapt.

Assess your progress and adjust your system

If you’ve set up action plans to achieve your resolutions this year, you’ve likely faced an obstacle or two already. Mid-season TV premieres replaced the books you promised to read; fast food tempted a fastidious diet. No success happens without occasional roadblocks and stumbles. The good news is you can always pick yourself up and try again. Of the many advantages action plans hold over resolutions, the adaptability of a systems approach—of recognizing your mistakes and resetting your focus—is one of the most appealing.

Following the systems you put in place for the year, it’s time to assess your progress and adjust accordingly. As you practice your system to reach broader goals—reading more books, becoming healthier, or achieving another big, hairy, audacious goal—it’s important to understand what’s realistic to implement on a regular basis and what’s not possible. In addition, your end-state goals may change altogether (which is okay!).

The purpose of your system is to put into place helpful practices that assist you in reaching your end goal, with the benefit of attaining other unexpected goals along the way. As the practices become habits, it’s natural for your goals to change and your mindset, too. Keep up the good work, forgive yourself for mistakes, and adjust your expectations as you learn about what you want from the process.

Celebrate little victories

As you incorporate new practices into your routine, recognize—and celebrate—the changes you see. Transitioning from a system to a habit is an accomplishment of its own; take a moment to congratulate yourself for that. Notice the little improvements you see in yourself and in your life, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. Because systems focus less on a goal and more on positive changes, it’s likely you’ll find other ways that you’ve improved. Celebrate that encouragement and channel it into fortifying your system.

As you continue to put your system into practice each day, give yourself room to make mistakes and to appreciate the progress you are making. Peruse the past articles in this series for a reminder of why you started this journey, and keep an eye out for more to come.

 

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Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.

References

Adams, S. (2013). How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. Penguin UK.

Clear, L. (2016). Forget About Goals. Focus on This Instead. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/goals-systems

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