It’s a new year. 2016. We have dreams, goals, and aspirations, some of which we’ve been holding on to for years. We still haven’t learned to play that instrument. The novel that’s been in your head still hasn’t been finished. Sure, you’ve started on several of these things, but it seems like the finish line is as elusive as Sasquatch and Nellie. If the dreams have essentially remained the same with a few alterations and updates here and there, then what’s missing?

A plan.

The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.

When I think of plans, a myriad of quotes (like the one above) and movie scenes come to mind. Yes, I said movie scenes. You know, the ones featuring a conversation between the protagonist and his sidekick after the antagonist has demonstrated a huge power move.

From Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II

See what I mean? Oftentimes, film mirrors what we experience in real life. Sometimes our plans work. Sometimes they don’t. Either way when trying to achieve goals, a plan of action or strategy is crucial to seeing things transition from dreams to reality.

Last year (and many years prior), I wrote a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2015. I created a Vision Board. I put inspirational messages up around my room.  I had an accountability partner. I wrote down benchmarks and goals in planners.

What happened?

Life. Several major life changes. Challenges with my health. My vision board wouldn’t stay hanging on my wall. The inspirational messages got lost in the craziness. My accountability partner forgot they were my accountability partner. I misplaced the planner.

Does all of that mean I didn’t make repeated attempts to attain those goals? Attempts were made, but they weren’t consistent.

Ooo, now there’s a good word.

On the first day of the new year, I tuned into a webinar entitled “How to Have a Vision for Your Life”, hosted by Shonta Prince (www.bootstobrilliance.com Check out her site for resources and upcoming events!). She shared several helpful printouts as well as nuggets of wisdom to help attendees start and finish 2016 strong. However, I found myself battling something as I listened. I consider myself to be an introvert who loves knowledge. Many a night has passed with me curled up reading a book, poring over articles and research material to tickle whatever question popped in my head that day. Do I know everything? Absolutely not! However, I know a few things and much of the great advice she shared, I had heard before.

Well if you’ve heard it before, Brandy, then why haven’t you achieved your goals?

Great question! I think it can be answered by one of those nuggets of wisdom Shonta threw our way that night. My progress is hindered by one dirty seven-letter word. Okay, it’s not really dirty, but it can feel that way for those of us who are lacking in this area.

LOST

R-O-U-T-I-N-E!

That’s what I’m missing! When athletes don’t routinely practice, their performance is affected and their goals aren’t achieved. When musicians don’t routinely study their craft, their melodies are a mess. And when we don’t routinely pursue those things we’ve listed in our planners, pasted to our vision boards, or pinned on Pinterest, what do we have?

A new year with the same goals. One of my goals which carried over to the new year is to breathe life into my food blog (64 Eats) by posting regularly. Over the last two years I’ve been saving photos from restaurants I’ve eaten at, drafting blog posts along the way to save the ideas that pop into my brain as I drive or wait for a movie to start at the theater. Because I lack routine, my posts have been sporadic. Not good. Anyone else have similar challenges?

I used to pride myself (mmhmm) in remembering the smallest of details in movies, stories, etc., but I have a hard time establishing consistency and routine outside of work. When I realized routine was the missing component, I began working on being a creature of nature even in minor ways such as placing my keys and eyeglasses in the same place when I come home every evening. For the first eight days this year, I have consistently recorded my dreams in a journal every morning. Since my memory is not what it used to be I’ve written down these daily rituals so I can remember to do them when I’ve been away for a few days. Kindergarten approach? Yeah, but if that’s what I have to do then that’s what I will do.

My #1 plan is to develop routines that will contribute to the attainment of other goals. Routine will help my plans be successful and my goals will finally be crossed off of my list.

Here’s to our success!

Anyone else struggle with establishing routine in their lives?