New Year. New Decade. New ’20s. Make Your Resolutions Roar.
What’s your dream? Notice I didn’t use the plural. I said “dream,” because if you want to accomplish it, you can only have one. If you have more than one, you won’t accomplish any of them.
It’s like the Russian proverb that Gary Keller chose to open his book The ONE Thing with: “If you try and chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
My one dream is to publish the above time travel book I’ve worked on since I was 10. (That’s 28 years of work.) And for the past 13 years, that’s been my top New Year’s Resolution each year. (And as of yesterday, I failed again, but I’m only 3,000 words away from finishing.)
What one dream are you working toward? And if you’re not making strides, you should start today. Here’s how: Pick 3.
Pick 3 Priorities
What areas of your life are most important to you? Pick 3 and rank them, because it’s not possible to be successful when you have too many priorities. Picking what’s most important to you is the whole point.
For example, my 3 priorities are health, relationships and career. I take care of my own oxygen mask first, my loved ones’ second and my career third.
Pick 3 Goals for Each Priority
My 3 health goals are to get enough sleep, eat healthy and be attractive.
My 3 relationship goals are be a good wife, doggie-mommy and friend/family member.
My 3 career goals are to make enough money to be comfortable, be a leader in my field and keep learning new things.
Pick 3 Daily Habits for Each Goal
Habits need to be daily to work. As Happiness Expert Gretchen Rubin put it, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”
3 Daily Habits for Health Goals
My 3 daily habits for my “get enough sleep” goal are sleep 8 hours a night, take naps when tired and read before bed.
My 3 daily habits for my “eat healthy” goal are to eat slowly, and eat one fruit/vegetable/meat for lunch and repeat for dinner.
My 3 daily habits for my “be attractive” goal are to shower, floss and workout.
3 Daily Habits for Relationship Goals
My 3 daily habits for my “be a good wife” goal are to put my husband first, spend time with him and do things he wants to do.
My 3 daily habits for my “be a good doggie mommy” goal are to walk Kanna, keep her clean and brush her teeth.
My 3 daily habits for my “be a good friend/family member” goal are to message loved ones, spend time with them and let them know I appreciate them.
3 Daily Habits for Career Goals
My 3 daily habits for my “make enough money to be comfortable” goal are get to work on time, respond to important emails promptly and do the best job I can on my current project.
My 3 daily habits for my “be a leader in my field” goal are to research my craft (writing, editing, social media, photography and videography), keep up-to-date on work-related news with Google Alerts and watch industry-related topics on social media.
My 3 daily habits for my “keep learning new things” goal are to listen to podcasts, take free online classes and watch learning videos. (CreativeLive, Coursera and edX provide hours of instruction from experts and some on-demand courses from Ivy Leagues as well—all for free!)
Goals and Daily Habits for Your One Dream
Treat your one dream as your fourth, bonus priority, and set 3 (or less) goals and 3 (or less) daily habits for each goal. (Since it’s a bonus priority, you only have so much time.) My one goal to help my time travel book become a bestseller is be a good writer/editor. My 3 daily habits to support this goal are write 500 words a day, read part of a book each night and continue learning about the craft of writing/editing/marketing novels.
Use Habit Strings
If you want to establish a new habit, you’ve probably heard it’s easier to pair it with something you already do, like flossing before you brush. But habit strings are even better, because you can get all your daily habits for each goal into one string, so they’re that much easier to knock out fast. For instance, every weekday after work, I do my good-doggie-mama and health habit strings all in a row. I feed Kanna, take her out, pick up, walk her for 10 minutes and brush her teeth (good-doggie-mama habit string). Then I change into my workout clothes, drive to the gym, work out for an hour, pick up one fruit/vegetable/meat for dinner, cook, eat slowly, shower and floss/brush (health habit strings). Then I write for an hour, read for an hour (one-goal habit string), watch TV for an hour and go to bed by 10 or 11 p.m. to get enough sleep.
Say No To Other People’s Priorities
See how busy you are if you work toward your goals on a daily basis? You don’t have time for other people’s priorities. (Plus it’s their job to manage their priorities, not yours. And would they even help you with yours anyway?) Only do something for someone else if you actually want to, or if not doing it will negatively impact your priorities. If it won’t, say no. You don’t have to do anything just because someone else wants you to, and you shouldn’t do anything out of guilt. You don’t have time. There’s nothing wrong with being too busy with your own priorities to help others with theirs, because that’s everyone! And you’re free to use the same loophole as everyone else. So use it.
Here’s to making the new ’20s roar!