Make it happen in 2013 – without any New Year resolutions!

2012listI started struggling with my dreams at the age of 15, when I suddenly learnt that I was on my own. I had to stop schooling and start working. It seemed like the end of the world – no education, no family support, no money… all I had were dreams and love for a girl who was going to be my soulmate. I also had  an extremely good luck to find the right people showing me the way and helping me along the way. [Some more of that story in my book introduction here.]

For over 30 years, I’ve been following what I call the “4-step method” to fulfill my dreams and achieve my goals, big and small, long-term and short-term. I got to the top of my dream job, traveled the world, achieved the health and fitness that I desired, started this blog… and more recently, got my first book published! I have also helped hundreds of people achieve their dreams through the same 4-step method. It’s not easy, but it’s simple:

  1. Dream. It’s the easiest part. We all have dreams. It’s a pity that sometimes we stop dreaming. We ‘learn’ that dreaming is no good; dreaming doesn’t help; dreams don’t come true. If you want a dream to come true, you got to have a dream. To follow step 1, you need to write your dreams down. It helps to think of your dreams as
    • Things I want to do (learn… travel to… contribute to… experience… lose… quit…)
    • Things I want to be (a manager/director… volunteer… a better…)
    • Things I want to have (all the material stuff that money can buy…) [Inspiring quotes about dreams]
  2. Goal. Now that you have your dream list all sorted, pick one or two of them that inspire you the most. The things that can happen over the next 3-6 months. The things you are most passionate about. The things you’d do if you only had a year to live. And make that dream specific and time bound. E.g. ‘I want to travel’ is a dream; ‘I am going to see Guilin in April 2013’ is a goal. ‘I want to lose weight’ is a dream; ‘I am going to lose 10 kg in 10 weeks’ is a goal. You see the difference between a dream and a goal? This is often the hardest part because it requires you to make a commitment to your dream. [Related post] Continue reading

You DON’T need New Year resolutions!

201212 Laos

That’s right. If you are happy with your life and don’t need any changes then you don’t need New Year resolutions. If you want to change or improve certain things in your life, you don’t have to wait for the New Year. And certainly New Year resolutions alone are not going to get you the results you want.

The most popular New Year resolutions seem to be:

  1. Health related: lose weight, get healthy, get fit, quit smoking, quit drinking…
  2. Money related: earn more, save more, get out of debt…
  3. Relationships related: find a soul mate, improve relationships…
  4. Other goals: job/business related, travel, learn something new, contribute…

And here’s why I believe most New Year resolutions fail:

  1. No commitment. Interested but not committed. Nice to have but not a must. If not this year, there’s plenty of life ahead.
  2. No belief. Goal setting doesn’t work for me. I am beyond any diet plan. I am not talented, skilled or lucky enough for
  3. No knowledge/skill. You don’t know how to go about achieving that goal. For weight loss, you need to know/learn about food and exercise. To get out of debt or to invest wisely, you need to know/learn the basics of finance. If it’s a sales goal, you need to improve your selling skills and so on.
  4. No action. Procrastination. Excuses. I am going to start from Monday. It’s too cold/hot to go out running. Just one bite can’t make me any fatter. This is often due to reasons 1-3 above.

If the above sounds familiar, try something different this year. Don’t make any New Year resolutions. Instead, pick one thing that you really really want to change. And follow the tried-n-tested, never-fail, 4-step method for a few weeks/months. Once you have learnt and mastered that method, you can start on the next goal. Want to know about the 4-step method? Coming up in Sunday morning post!

[Photo of Tad Yeuang in South Laos. One of the things on my 2012 to-do list was to see the beautiful waterfalls of Laos and live in a village for at least two days. Check. See some more spectacular photos here, and a short video here.]