Around this time of year, many of us are starting to think about our New Year’s Resolutions. What can we commit to in 2015? Self improvement, or at least the desire for it, is a shared American hobby. According to Forbes nearly 40% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, however only 8% of those people achieve their resolutions. Why do so many people fail to hit their goals?
Many people use the New Year as an opportunity to set a huge goal, whether personal or professional. This might seem like a great idea, however change does not come overnight, it takes a concerted daily effort to change your habits. Aristotle taught “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So how do you form good habits? When I was a kid I was ‘forced’ to have good habits, finish my homework before I could play outside, a parent imposed early bed time, running 8 miles a day. All of those habits had one thing in common, a parent/coach monitoring my completion of the task. This constant supervision led to the creation of good habits. Now that I’m older, my parents and track coaches don’t play the same role in my life, as a result I had to step up and play the role myself and find a way to hold myself accountable, but how?
The One-Day Contract
Under the advisement of a good friend, I picked up Rick Pitino’s new book “The One-Day Contract”. The book uncovers a unique approach to building a daily foundation for positive habits. Imagine how your approach to work would change if this afternoon after you finished work, a supervisor would make the call on whether to retain you for another day or let you go? My guess is you’d be tremendously organized, at least for that one day. Every minute of that day would be maximized.
Knowing what we want to do isn’t a problem for most of us. Coming up with a disciplined routine to get there is very difficult. Here’s how to create that routine:
- Create a game plan in the evening for the following day. The plan should include a checklist of items to complete, how to act, who to reach out to, a plan for every minute (including down time). Print it out, sign it, and keep it with you all day.
- Execute on the One-Day Contract.
- At the end of the day, evaluate your results compared to your agreement then ask yourself the following question: If I was the boss, and I had to decide whether to hire myself back for another day tomorrow, would I?
- Create your new One-Day Contract, building on your successes from the following day.
This is more than a to-do list. It is a mind-set that you train yourself to develop. It’s a commitment, a contract that with its execution will bring your best year ever in 2015!
Andrew J. Dale, MBA, CLU
WestPac Wealth Partners, LLC.