We are a little over a month into the new year so how are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Like so many before you, have you thrown in the towel on some and made little or no progress on others? If you’re less than satisfied with your progress to date, here’s an idea: Why don’t you attack your cupcake challenges first?
If you’re a fan of college sports, I’ll bet you’ve heard of the “cupcake scheduling” philosophy employed by certain successful college football and basketball coaches. Early in the season or right before a big game, these coaches schedule an obscure opponent from a lesser conference or one with years of losing records. Nine times out of ten, the coach’s highly favored team wins big. Early “creampuff” victories help players work out their kinks and build confidence for crucial challenges later on.
In similar fashion, here’s what you can do. I trust you still have handy a copy of your 2012 New Year’s resolutions. (If not, prepare a new list.) Pick out the one or two negative circumstances you are most confident that you can eliminate or overcome (or at the very least make significant progress towards resolving) over the next 60 to 90 days. Place the easiest of all “cupcake challenge” at the very top of your list and launch a full frontal attack on this one issue only, placing all your other resolutions on the back burner to be addressed later.
Your intended strategy for resolution must be clearly defined. To begin, write down a precise ultimate target (e.g., if weight loss, how many pounds?), firm interim targets (e.g., intended weight at each of several projected milestone dates) and your detailed action plan (e.g., a physician approved weight-loss diet and exercise routine.)
Once you plunge in, you must initiate intended behavior patterns without delay, monitor progress and from time to time as needed modify (but never abandon) targeted dates and milestones. Throughout the process you should routinely visualize accomplishment of the targeted ultimate result. How wonderful will this make you look, behave and feel? (e.g., Imagine yourself at your ideal weight eagerly making plans to purchase a fresh new wardrobe.)
Needless to say, cupcake challenges vary greatly from person to person. Challenges that come easy for you may be a real bear for me! For this reason, put on your thinking cap and select only that one resolution which gives you the most comfort. Looking back, perhaps you are unable to uncover a single 2012 resolution which now appears achievable. In that case, you may need now to create an entirely new one. To restore confidence and build forward momentum, you will need at least one 2012 challenge that you are confident to attack right now. Keep in mind that your ultimate objective is the self-confidence and positive mindset needed to overcome midlife’s toughest challenges later on.
For further suggestions on making and keeping 2012 resolutions, we offer author Roy Richards’s MIDDLE AGE RENEWAL E-book for free! Packed full of sound advice and vivid illustrations promoting mid-life restoration of joy and positive expectations, this mini-course in living comes with absolutely no obligation! To obtain your free copy, simply visit our website, www.middleage renewal.com.