I think I have set the same New Year’s Resolution for the last three years.
I’ve “failed” in the past, but I try again year after year. And this year I’m extra hopeful because I think I may have found a little secret to meeting my goal or any goal for that matter. The secret has nothing to do with will-power and everything to do with preparation.
I think I struggled to keep this resolution because I never properly set up my “Matrix of Success” before I tried to start my new habit.
I’m not sure where I heard the term “Matrix of Success” or if I just made it up, but for me it just means getting everything in order, gathering supplies, having the proper tools, thinking things through, foreseeing potential problems, and being ready to go — preparing what ever it is going to take to have success.
So I put a lot of time and thought into what was necessary to achieve my goal this year? What supplies would I need to be successful? What glitches would I run into? What may hold me back? What had been my hang-ups in the past with goals similar to this?
Here are some key components of my “Matrix of Success”:
Make a Clear Goal
My goal has always been “Read the scripture daily,” but this year I wanted to give myself a little more. I wanted time each morning to charge up for the day. I think Tony Robbins calls it “Thirty Minutes to Thrive.” As a self-accepting introvert, I knew I wanted my thirty minutes to include reading my scriptures, journaling, meditation, and prayer. So my goal is to THRIVE each day.
Find Your Why
If you want to stick to a goal long-term you better have a dang good reason for setting the goal in the first place. In the past, my why behind scripture study was just because it’s something I ‘should’ do. I was just “shoulding on myself” and not making heart-changing progress.
But this year, my why is much deeper. I’m an introvert, and I need to give my self this quiet time as a lovely act of self-care. I will be a better wife, mother, and person with some time to recharge. Also, I’m going to be asking a lot of questions this year, and I believe the answers will be found through writing in my journal, studying the scriptures, meditating and praying. If I want answers I need to put in the time and work. These reasons motivate me more than just that I ‘should’ read.
I had to define my expectations for the thirty minutes. I gave myself permission to not journal everything that happened the day before– just a funny or special moment or a thought for the day.
I also made it clear in my mind that I am not necessarily going for a chapter a day in the scriptures. I am going for 15 minutes of consistent reading and study each day. I may get through one verse or three chapters during my “Thirty Minutes to Thrive.”
Make a Plan
Habit research shows that your more likely to stick to something if it is at the same time each day, so I set a specific time each day for my “Thirty Minutes to Thrive.” I knew it had to be first thing in the morning because everything goes downhill after 9:00 am for me. Ha.
I already wake up at 6:00 am every day to exercise, and I don’t trust myself to add anything earlier to my day. Anything in the 5:00 am hour reminds me of early morning seminary and makes me sick to my stomach. I’m on “get the kids out the door” duty from 7:00 – 8:15 am and then I have a little lull before Croft gets going with homeschooling. So I set 8:15-8:45 am as my time for “Thirty Minutes to Thrive.” It’s a quirky time, but it works for me.
I do better when I have a little accountability or way to record my progress. So I went on Pinterest and found a bunch of scripture reading recording charts and found one that would work for me. I am going for consistency over amount, so I opted for one where you mark off days read rather than chapters. I printed it out and put it on a clipboard so it would be easier to mark off.
I also write “Thrive” on my to-do-list every day. That gives me an added reminder and extra incentive to get it done.
And I guess blogging about my goal makes me a little accountable too.
Nothing kills a new goal faster than not having the right tools to pull it off, so it’s important to gather all your materials and store them together in one place.
I gathered all the materials I would need each morning: a marking pencil, a good pen, a sharpie, a clipboard, my journal, and my scriptures and put them all together in a basket.
For this new year, I also bought a new set of scriptures. I lost my scriptures in our move, and I had been using the electronic version on my phone since. But that wasn’t cutting it. I missed holding a book in my hands, turning pages, and marking with a pencil. I knew I needed the ‘real deal’ back if I wanted to get the most out of my goal, so I got a new set of scriptures for Christmas.
You should only have to gather supplies once, not every time you want to accomplish your goal. The only “supply” that travels is my phone for meditation. I bring that in every morning. Everything else stays in my basket.
I knew I could do everything on my own except meditate. I wanted a little prompt and guide, so I downloaded the app HeadSpace. There are some free 10 minutes meditations, but a subscription is needed for full access. This easy resource helps me accomplish my goal of daily quiet time. I’m also looking forward to www.troopwell.com launching their meditations soon.
Every goal has obstacles. Figure out what they are or might be and fix what you can before you even get started.
I knew this year I needed to find the perfect place to hold my “Thirty Minutes to Thrive.” Where would I do my reading and meditating? My bed was too cozy. I would likely fall asleep if I went to my bed to read, journal and meditate. My office was not cozy enough. A desk might be great for writing, but it was not what I wanted for reading and prayer. My living room was not private enough, and it felt too spacious early in the morning. (I sound like Goldilocks.) I had tried all three places in years past and hadn’t been successful or consistent.
Finally, the idea came to me to use my big recliner in my school room. It was just right! The chair was cozy, yet kept me upright. It already had a pillow and a blanket on it, so I could keep warm. It was right next to shelves so I could store all my materials right by the chair. Afterall, I believe you should store supplies where you use them. The chair faced big windows with a beautiful view of mountains. The room was private and wouldn’t disturb anyone. And best of all, the chair was just the right height for my short body to kneel at when I pray. I had found the perfect place to be successful with my new goal!
All of that work to build my “Matrix of Success” and I hadn’t even read one scripture or written one journal passage, but everything was in place for me to tackle my new goal.
And as you can see, so far I’m doing well.
So many good habits are stymied before they start because a matrix of success was not set up prior to trying to begin the habit. It takes some work, but with a little forethought and planning you will increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goals.
So what are some of your goals for the new year and what would your matrix of success need to include?