Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 79 - New Year's Revolution

January 1, 2011

Image by Filomena Scalise /
No, there isn't a typo in my title - that 'V' should definitely be there.  I have spent many years of my life coming up with a list of resolutions to pursue at each turn of a new year - anywhere from the standard "eat healthy and go to the gym more often" to the more obscure "take a metalsmithing class".  I am grateful that each new year brings a built-in time of reflection on life and the direction it has taken the past 365 days.   

This year I want to do more than reflect - and I challenge you to do the same. defines resolution as:

res o lu tion [rez-uh-loo-shuhn] - noun.  a resolve or determination.

In terms of New Year's resolutions, you probably thought about what you would like to change in your life in the next year and then made a list of things you would like to accomplish.  Great start - so now what?  It's time to start a reVolution.

rev o lu tion [rev-uh-loo-shuhn] - noun.  a sudden, complete or marked change in something.

When comparing the definitions of these two similarly constructed yet very distinct words, what jumps out at me is the passivity of the meaning of resolution.  Don't get me wrong, resolve and determination are the first step to accomplishing your goals, but there is no discussion of action and next steps.  A majority of people tend to become stuck at this initial step in the accomplishment process in the new year by virtue of the fact that they have been taught to only think as far as a resolution rather than an actual plan to accomplish it.

Revolution, on the other hand, demands a passionate quest for action.  Taking matters into your own hands and participating in life rather than just letting life happen for you.  Marked change created and owned by you.  Three wise words we are all familar with: Just Do It (Thanks, Nike).  Do you want to make the jump from thinker to do'er and accomplish your goals in 2011?  Whether your revolutions are finance-oriented or not, here are some valuable tips to get you on track.

1. Surround yourself with supportive people who are of like mind.  There are always going to be people out there who discourage you from taking action when it comes to what you want to accomplish.  This negative attitude often has more to do with the person's own issues rather than you and your ideas.  Take a minute to think about who you spend most of your time with - do they participate in a "give and take" or do they purely "take and take some more"?  Redefining - and possibly minimizing - your relationship with the latter is crucial to accomplishing your goals.  As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently put it:

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
Surround yourself with great minds and positive, inspiring friends and family.  Stop participating in negativity and meaningless gossip.

2. Introduce accountability.  I was trying to get rid of my debt on my own prior to Mike and I joining forces.  I did rather well but probably could have done better.  Now that I have someone right next to me who I know will be asking about that Starbucks purchase on the bank statement, it creates a sense of accountability to myself and to Mike.  If you are on your own, it is much easier to justify that needless $5 coffee purchase.  If you haven't met your better half yet, create accountability by telling your closest family and friends what you want to accomplish.  Or start a blog - this has surprisingly helped me keep on track.  It creates built in reflection about what you have accomplished and where you need to go to fulfill your goals.  And you don't want to disappoint your readers!!

3. Make an action list.  I love lists.  It takes all of the ideas in my head and makes them feel less overwhelming and more achievable when they are down on paper.  Start some kind of physical manifestation of not only your ideas, but steps you need to take to accomplish them.  Break it down into as many steps as you need even if step one is "Turn off the television and grab a paper and pen".  For those of you who are freaked out by lists, create a drawing, diagram or spreadsheet that fulfills the same purpose.  Regardless of your process, the importance of this step is to create something tangible and reasonable as opposed to that cloudy dream you keep in your head.

4. Create a timeline.  Maybe I'm just a weirdo linear thinker, but what is the purpose of having a goal if you don't have a time frame for accomplishment?  There is a reason why your homework in school and your projects at work always come with a deadline!!  Parkinson's Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.  No timeline for a goal means no projected completion which means no expectation to accomplish anything.

5. Don't just think big, DO BIGGER.  I will be the first to tell you that I am great at coming up with creative business ideas that will bring in extra income, but getting past the idea phase and actually doing something about it is the tough part.  Part of the problem is fear of failure and the unknown.  Possibly a resistance to change or adversity to risk.  How do I overcome this battle?  Just remember that these feelings are completely human.  Then go back and re-read steps 1 through 4.

What are you waiting for? Start your own Personal Revolution TODAY.

Stay tuned,
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