Here we are at Resolution Time again! This is the time of the year when we ritualistically take stock of the year almost over, to assess our accomplishments and make resolutions for the coming year. Too often we find that the new resolutions we are making for the coming year have a deja vu feeling about them because they very closely resemble last year’s resolutions that were never done. That is a very depressing way to start a new year! If you can relate to this, here is a proven method to ensure that a year from now you will be celebrating your winning year.

The usual way of dealing with resolutions is in terms of goals and goal fulfillment. That is a set up for failure. Unfortunately a list of goals or resolutions is little more that a list of dreams and wishes. The problem with dreams and wishes is that they are usually made with the unconscious idea that they will be completed via a magical cure or miraculous fulfillment of them. They must because rarely when folks make a list of resolutions and goals to accomplish do they attach to them the concrete steps needed to take them to completion and they are destined to failure.

I propose a new way of making your resolutions this year. I propose that you adopt the sports metaphor and view each resolution as a possible winnable game worth playing. Let’s look at them the same way you would look at a resolution or desire to win in a sport or a game of mental or physical skill — baseball, for example. Here are the steps necessary to win at the game of baseball (assuming you never played but resolve to do so):

a.                          You would first question if the resolve and desire was strong enough to give you the energy and stick-to-it-ness to persevere through the process of learning and acquiring the skills to win. Do you want to play the game because of an inner fascination with it or are you doing so because it will satisfy someone else’s desire for you to play the game. If it is the latter, your chances of learning and winning are slim. Even if you do win, it would be a hollow one and looking back, wouldn’t seem like it was worth the effort.

b.                          Assuming that you really, really have a strong desire to learn and win, the next important step is to decide what part of the game, what position, you want to specialize in. To do that you might have to try out all the positions to get a feel for which ones you have a natural aptitude and as important, which ones you enjoy playing the most.

c.                          Having figured out the position, such as “pitcher,” you then need to acquire the skills of the game.

d.                         It is very important, at this point to make sure to work through all your inner game issues and conflicts (“I never was too good at sports”) that might sabotage your best intentions.

e.                          Next comes getting the proper equipment and joining a team.

f.                           And finally, continuing to evaluate how you are doing and what more needs to be done, learned or practiced to get to the win at the game of pitching in a baseball game.

Did I leave something out of this scenario?  Would you ever think you would be able to effectively accomplish all that planning, learning the skills, practicing and evaluating the progress of becoming a winning baseball pitcher without having a coach? Not likely! Sure, you probably could arrive at the skill and knowledge needed to win, given much time and experimentation, but are you willing to spend years rediscovering what’s already known? If you are willing to do that, that’s playing a different game, the game of reinventing the wheel. With sports, having a coach is an accepted part of the equation of winning. Most champion sporting figures, as well as champions in all walks of life have coaches.

The 9 Steps to Win the Resolutions Game

So now looking at your new New Year’s Resolutions from the same perspective as we just did for winning at sports, here are the 9 steps to playing your resolutions to win this year:

  1. List your Resolutions in terms of winning a game, using the following format: “I want to win at the game of __________( doubling my income, cleaning out the garage, etc.) by __________(a specific date) and answer the following questions about each one you just wrote:
  2. Is this game winnable?
  3. Did you give yourself enough time to realistically accomplish it?
  4. Assuming it is winnable, is this game worth playing? Will winning this game be important to you? Do you really want to or need to win this one? Is it winnable but really someone else’s game that would be worth THEIR PLAYING? Is it worth it for you to play it for them? Answering “no” to these questions are indicators of non-starters or, at most, winnable games (resolutions) begrudgingly played and not a prescription for having fun. Having fun is the real reason for playing and living, isn’t it?
  5. Do you have the skills and resources to accomplish the resolution? If not, you need to alter the finish date to have enough time to get your act together? What are the steps you need to do to accomplish and win this game?
  6. Are there any parts inside you that are either subtly or screamingly suggesting that either you can’t win at this game or you ought not even attempt this one? Until you address their concerns and satisfy them, they will sabotage your best efforts and create failure.
  7. Do you have all the tools, working space, equipment and positive support of friends, family and/or business associates you might need to win this one?
  8. As you progress towards the final end date of the game, how are you going to know how well you are progressing and what more do you need to do to end up with a win?   In other words, how are you going to keep score of your progress and make the required mid-course corrections?
  9. Would it be helpful to have a coach that could co-create with you, and when needed guide and teach the necessary skills, to have this be a winnable game worth playing? (Hint: Probably!)  Having a coach IS the winner’s edge!

Working this process with each of the items on your list of Resolutions will allow you to weed out the ones that are just hope-for-things, other people’s hope-you-do-for-them-things, and the not-realistic-to-win-at-things. That will leave you with a list of winnable games (aka resolutions) AND a plan for winning them. This will ensure that next year at this time you won’t just be celebrating a New Year. You will be celebrating the successful conclusion of a Winning Season of Your Life! (Your coach will be celebrating too, because he only wins when you win.)

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