Long-term goals are achieved in short-term segments
you broken your New Year's resolutions yet? One
study found that 70% of us have broken our New
Year's resolutions by the end of January. New
Year's resolutions, like goals, are easy to set,
but harder to accomplish. In a typical year in
the U.S., 17,300,000 smokers quit, at least for
a day, but only 1,300,000 of these quit for at
least a year.
To accomplish any resolution or goal you must
be committed to change. You must want to achieve
that goal so much that you will muster enough
self-discipline to persist, in spite of the temptation
to slip back into comfortable ways. You need the
motivation to succeed. To be motivated you must
believe you can do it. You must believe in yourself.
Motivation is the product of the strength of your
desire to achieve something, and the strength
of your expectancy that it will be accomplished.
If you don't think you can do something, you're
right. But if you really want something and you
know you can achieve it you will.
If you make up your mind to walk or jog every
morning or give up desserts or lose five pounds
by the end of the month or listen more attentively
without interrupting, you can do it. You can do
it a day at a time. To give up desserts or coffee
or anything else that you enjoy is just too overwhelming
if it requires a lifetime of self-denial. But
if you tell yourself that you are just going to
do it for a day, it's suddenly easy.
can give up smoking for one day, or jog one morning
or skip the bedtime snack one evening. The next
day is a new commitment to make the change that
day as well. The following day becomes a new commitment.
And eventually the habit is broken. Habits are
broken or formed one day at a time. Goals are
achieved one day at a time.
It takes desire and belief and commitment to get
through that one day, but it's a lot easier than
giving up something forever. One of my sons, who
had tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking many
times finally embarked on the one-day-at-a-time
Each morning he would tell himself that he was
not going to smoke that day. He would repeat the
same affirmation the next day and the next. If
you asked him if he had given up smoking he would
reply, "No. It's too difficult to give up
smoking. But I'm not smoking today." It was
years before he would admit that he had actually
given up smoking and even then he was quick to
add that there were no guarantees for the future.
He was still working on it a day at a time. But
success breeds success. And as his lungs cleared,
his taste buds sharpened and his health improved,
his motivation increased even more.
Having a goal is not good enough. There must be
a reason for the goal. This provides the desire
and the resultant commitment. When I gave up drinking
coffee there was a strong reason to do so. Suffering
from arthritis that threatened my speaking career
and wanting to avoid taking anti-inflammatory
drugs that attacked my stomach (I had bleeding
ulcers in the past,) I did a lot of reading on
that diet could have a profound effect on arthritis
in some cases, I embarked on a diet, which included
giving up coffee. Ensuing headaches, which could
have been quickly alleviated by a coffee fix,
did not dissuade me, simply because my motivation
was high. And I only had to give up coffee for
one day. Then one more day. Again and again. Within
three weeks the headaches and arthritis were gone.
After three years I don't even miss the coffee
any more. And only on cold mornings when I smell
a fresh brew am I even tempted.
There were others things I gave up at the time,
such as red meat, salt and excessive sugar. And
I took fish oil supplement. But the tough thing
for me to give up was coffee. Even if it is proven
that the coffee did no harm and my arthritis coincidentally
went into regression at the same time, so what?
Water is better for me anyway.
The next time you want to develop a good habit,
rid yourself of a bad habit or achieve a goal
that seems overwhelming, try the one-day-at-a-time
technique. It works.
Harold Taylor, president of Harold Taylor
Time Consultants Inc. has been speaking, writing
and conducting training programs on the topic
of effective time management for over 25 years.
He has written 15 books and 200 articles, developed
over 50 time management products and presented
over 2000 workshops - all on the the topic of
Harold Taylor Time Consultants Inc.
Gorham St., Unit 12, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: 905-853-9328; Fax: 905-853-9390; Subscribe
to our free electronic Time Tips Newsletter at
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