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January. The month of good intentions and new beginnings – and resolutions.

February. The month when, for many resolution-makers, it all starts to unravel and slip back, Snakes & Ladders style, to the old status quo.

Resolutions are tricky. You start with an idea but within a few weeks – or even days – motivation starts to waver. I’ve found that two equally important elements make it easier to follow through with making changes.

Intention

The first step is to set an Intention, capitalised here to stress the strength and resolve behind it. It’s the difference between ‘meaning well’ and ‘doing well’. These deeper and stronger Intentions are your foundation, not just for good resolutions, but for a good life. They might be linked to your values, the principles that you hold at the core of your being.

Strategy

The second step is to formulate the right implementation strategy needed to sustain the resolution. When you decide upon a resolution, you’re thinking about the end-goal. You might not be considering how you’ll get there or what happens in different circumstances. A strategy helps you to plan ahead, identify potential pitfalls, and create a support system (people, structure, daily routines, etc).

A Quick-Start Strategy

A quick and easy way to start looking at the strategy is to chunk down through the timeframe that you’ve set. For example, if you’ve given yourself three months to reach your goal, look at those individual months and determine where you need to be at each monthly milestone in order to achieve the overall goal.  See if there are any events scheduled that might hinder progress, and plan ahead for how you’ll work around them. Can you add elements to help you along the way?

As a month approaches, look at its individual weeks – and, as a week approaches, look at its individual days. With each time chunk, look for potential pitfalls and how to work around them. Each time, This way, you can be prepared for a multitude of eventualities and make sure you stay on track.

Next time, I’ll talk about setting specific goals, which will help with your strategy.