In the first two posts of the series on Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick, I talked about what and why. Now we are going to talk about how: the specific actions you are going to take to achieve your goals and resolutions you’ve set this year.
Get Down to Details
To have any chance of succeeding this year, especially if you’ve fallen short of your goals in the past, you have to take a hard look at where you’re strong and where you suck…specifically around the goal. Only then can you make a realistic plan. Too often plans are made without really thinking about what you are and aren’t not capable of.
Let’s say your goal is to take poker more seriously and that means, playing 120 hours/month, work on your game for 40hrs/month, schedule your week, get coaching, and of course improve your mental game.
In order to reach that goal, you need to first know what you did last year. Even though you’re taking this year more seriously, looking at where you were strong and where you were weak, around each part of this goal, establishes your baseline. It’s basically what you’ve already proven you can do, and now the goal is to essentially fill the gap. So let’s say on average last year you played 80hrs/month, worked 10hrs/month, played when you felt like it and didn’t get coaching, nor work on your mental game.
Essentially the plan that you’re building is to help you to add the 40hrs of play, the 30hrs of study, getting a coach and figuring out how to best utilize that time, and figuring out how to work on your mental game.
On the one hand it may seem simple. It’s not, and that’s why many people fail to accomplish their goals or resolutions.
Be specific about what you need to be doing on a daily or weekly basis. Time wise, your adding roughly 10hrs of play and 7.5hrs of study to your week – which means that you now have 17.5hrs/week less of what you used to do. That’s a big chunk, especially if what you used to do was low stress. Plus if you used to play at random times, developing a schedule that works for you is a major leak. It takes experience working with a schedule to figure out what works best for you – when the best games are, how to prepare yourself to be in the right frame of mind, getting to sleep on time, avoiding personal distractions, and many more questions have to be answered. There’s a skill to all of it, and your plan essentially helps you to build that skill.
Many of you may not know what skills you need. That’s fine. Dive in and figure it out. Ask for help. Find out what others do, what works for them, what doesn’t, what problems they run into and how get around those problems. Ask several people, since everyone is different so you get a range of ideas, and begin figuring out what is going to work best for you.
Avoid getting caught thinking too much ahead of time. There’s little to no chance that you’ll get it right the first time around unless you already have a bunch of experience. So give it some thought and then go do it, so you can being learning for yourself what works and what doesn’t…it’s no different in that way than learning how to play poker.
photo credit: Håkan Dahlström