By D. Lanier Shook January 11, 2019
Happy Forty-Second of December, Twenty Eighteen! But since all good things must end I wish you a happy Eleventh of January. Just like December of 2018, all good things must end, so I must end this series about New Year’s Resolutions with the fourth edition. If you haven’t read the other three just click on one of these links — to Part One, Part Two, and Part Three — and remember that just because its the 42d of December, I mean the 11th of January it doesn’t mean you can’t start all over again. (You know, if it wasn’t Friday that’d be a good Part Five.)
January 1 is just an arbitrary date and change can begin any day of the year. If I eat a candy bar and get a horrible stomachache I don’t have to wait to stop eating candybars (or at least that brand). So if your resolutions aren’t working you can change them — or restart them — any day of the year.
We’ve covered how to set goals and how to stay motivated( here and here), but none of that matters if you don’t know where you are in your goals. That’s why one of the most important — if not the most important part — of any life change is record keeping and here are three reasons why.
RECORDS SHOW YOU WHERE YOU ARE
Unless you know where you are you won’t have a basis on where you want to be. Unless you know where you are you won’t know what needs to change. Unless you know where you are you won’t know you need to move. Knowing where you are is an admission you need to get started going somewhere else.
RECORDS SHOW WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN
As time goes by things will change — even if just a little bit. You will invest blood and treasure into your goal and eventually as you flip through the pages of your journal you can say “I’ve been at it for a month — why give up now.” Then it will be two months and then three. Each record puts a stake in the ground.
RECORDS SHOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND HOW YOU’RE GETTING THERE
A journal — or any record — shows momentum just by being there. Its mere existence is a statement to reality that you want to change something. As time goes by its existence become a track of footprints you can look back on. Maybe it will be a long journey with not much to show for it, but it will be there. Unless you have a record of some kind you won’t have that to reinforce and motivate you.
So, that’s why to keep a record and here are three ways to make sure you continue to do that.
MAKE IT EASY
You won’t do anything if it takes too much time and effort. Even if you start there will be a day you stop, then another day, then another , and soon it will end. So don’t put a parchment scroll and peacock feather quill pen on top of a ten story tower on a high mountain guarded by wolves. One day the mountain will be snowy, the next wolves will be grouchier, and the next WalMart will be out of stock of peacock feather quill pens. There’s just too much to go wrong so get a nice notebook and a ball point pen.
MAKE IT FUN
While you don’t want to be toooo complicated, everybody has something they enjoy. For some people it will be a leather bound journal and G2 ink pen while someone else may prefer a notebook with that black paper and multi-colored gel pens. Both are fine as long as it keeps you motivated. The key is to keep going.
MAKE IT CONSISTENT
Do it every day. If your routine is too complicated, cut it back. If you can’t do it one place find somewhere that works.
Well, that’s our New Year’s Resolution Survival Guide — born of pain and suffering and much anguished experience.