Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

Bakari Akil II Ph.D.

Communication Central

365 Day Project – Explode Your Potential - Goals & New Years Resolutions

365 Day Project – Explode Your Potential! - New Years Resolutions

Posted Dec 31, 2009


goals2Recently, I read billionaire and mega-entrepreneur Sam Wyly's memoir, 1000 Dollars & an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire. Wyly stressed the importance of small steps in the pursuit of large goals. He wrote:

Over the years I've...found that whatever someone's ultimate goal might be, the easiest way to get there is to map out a course with smaller goals along the way. You find one small thing you can do, and you keep on doing it... Little victories add up.

In further discussing goals, I would like to discuss Dan Ariely (behavioral economist) and Yale professor, Jiwoong Shin's, work. Their study, Door Game, indirectly points out a major factor that hinders the pursuit of goals. In this study participants were given 100 clicks and confronted with 3 doors on a computer screen. Each time they clicked on a door they would receive different sums of money. As they would click on a door, however, the other doors would shrink and if not chosen after a certain number of clicks the door would disappear. Since every door had a different sum associated with it, common sense would dictate that if one door provided more money than the others you would continue to click on that door until your 100 clicks ran out, regardless if a door disappeared.

According to Ariely and Shin, this was not the case. The idea of loss was an overwhelming factor in the majority of participants' decisions in what door to choose. Even though participants risked losing money by keeping certain doors open the idea of having only one door as an option seemed less palatable (to the majority) even though they knew it would be more beneficial to let the other doors close.

The reason I brought up Ariely and Shin's study and Wyly's quote is to discuss two essential ideas for pursuing goals. First, it is very helpful to break them down into small achievable tasks. Second, by focusing on one specific outcome for a long period of time we are more likely to achieve them and can avoid the failure that often results from being focused on too many goals at once.

What follows is advice that I have recommended to many people concerning the acceleration of goal fulfillment. If you are making plans for the upcoming year I hope this will be helpful.

365-Day Project

What if you could become the person you always wanted to be? Imagine improving your skill level by miles instead of inches; becoming confident to a degree you've never experienced and seeing improvement on a scale unimagined before.

Well an almost surefire way to make this happen is to create a 365-day project.

We all have set a goal, or have a skill, profession or condition we would like to improve. However, without sustained effort it is hard to accomplish this outcome.

A 365-day project takes all of the guesswork out of this often unsolvable equation. That is, how to improve in areas of our life when we, and the world we live in is so fragmented that concentration on one issue is difficult.

I am sure you or someone you know has made a resolution on New Years or some other date, to renew a commitment to some goal. The 365-day project is different. It is a commitment to do something for 365 days no matter what is occurring in your life.

No Matter What...

That may not be easy, so you have to make sure that:

A. You really want to do it; and
B. That what you choose to do can be done, everyday with no harmful or adverse effects to you.

So what are the ultimate benefits of the 365-day project?

You create a lifestyle that includes your wildest dream.

Your skills or talent multiply.

Your confidence and self esteem sky rockets; and

You become the outcome you desired.

Lifestyle of your Wildest Dreams

First decide what you want to do. Do you want a bigger vocabulary; to play a sport better; lose weight; improve your parenting skills; improve your job performance? You decide. Once you make that decision then you begin to incorporate exercises to improve or increase your performance in whatever area you choose.

Now you have to be careful when designing your exercises because this 365-day project is for the long term. You do not want to ‘burn out.' So for instance if someone wants to exercise for 365 days straight; they can incorporate days where they only walk, or have a day for stretching. They can set aside days where they work out hard for 10 minutes instead of 45 minutes. The goal is to make sure some benefit is gained everyday. As long as you do not make a mockery of the project you can incorporate easy days so you will not feel overwhelmed and decide to quit.

Skills and Talents Multiply

Another awesome benefit of a 365-day project is that your skill level, talent, relationships, etc. will reflect the daily effort you put into it. Because that's what it is really about, becoming what you want to be. If someone's goal were to become a better tennis player, then after 30 days, maybe even two weeks, you would definitely see an improvement in his or her game. Let's say that each day they did one of the following things; practiced their strokes on the practice wall; took a lesson; analyzed tape; studied a tennis book; went through drills; etc. After a period of time they would see the difference.

The once a week match with their buddy may have a different outcome. Instead of losing 6-1, 6-0 they may lose 6-3, 6-2; they may give them a battle when they couldn't before or perhaps they may have become good enough to trounce their friend.

Not only will you notice the difference, others will too. A properly formed 365-day project will multiply your talents immensely. Think about a person who wants to spend more quality time with their kids. They don't just have to pencil in time for once or twice a week for an hour or two. They can be creative to meet their goal. They can take them to the park, out to lunch, stop by their bedroom for a brief chat, call them on the phone or if all else fails, write them a short note or letter. The relationship can become more positive (or close) because continuous effort is made and the other party will notice.

Now as the talents and skills multiply, how you feel about them, yourself and your new lifestyle will also change.

Confidence and Self Esteem Sky Rocket

You can suddenly do things you never thought possible. You may now be a better cook; can perform your job better; your appearance may have changed or you may have become better at something than those around you. Not only will you notice the difference, other people will too. Your experience and reality will begin to reflect it. You may start to get congratulations on performing some job or task better. People may start looking or referring to you as the go to person. You will even begin seeing yourself as a part of the lifestyle that you never felt you were a part of.

All of these things give you the confidence to continue what you are doing. Your confidence will increase because you will know that you are capable and can improve. You will know that it is not luck but concentrated effort. As time passes you will notice that not only will your confidence improve, but also you become the outcome desired.

Becoming the Outcome

After 4, 6, 9 or 12 months of daily effort you will begin to notice that you have achieved your objective or are well on your way. Multiplied effort is rewarded. You will have improved your motor skills for physical activities. If it is an intellectual activity then you will be an expert or on your way to becoming one. The possibilities of what can be accomplished are endless. You are what you do and are living the life you want by living the life you want.

Final Thoughts

So, we've explored how a 365-day project can be beneficial to your life. You can incorporate a passion or dream of yours into your daily life; your skills and talents will multiply; your confidence will improve and you will achieve the outcome or be well on your way. In order to make sure you stay on task, here are a few pointers:

1. Choose a project that you can be interested in for 365 days.

2. Be sensible in the creation of exercises or tasks you create to meet that goal. Have exercises or tasks that are short and easy to do (but still provide benefit) for days when you feel sluggish or are sick or depressed.

3. Have measurable goals so you can see your progress.

4. Tell others about your project so you will be held accountable (Create a blog or tell people who look up to you or that you respect); and

5. Have fun....

So there you have it. A plan to become outstanding in an area of your choosing.

Bakari Akil II, Ph.D., is the author of Super You! 101 Ways to Maximize your Potential! You can also check out his page on Twitter.

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