Each New Year engenders a hopefully better version of YOU! However, wouldn't it be great to become your best version in 2022? Catholic author Matthew Kelly says, "Our lives change when our habits change." So want to number your days more effectively, as Psalm 90:12 says? Then, employ a RED-DOT-GOAL this year.
A RED-DOT-GOAL became a viable part of my life around 20 years ago when I learned about this technique from a network-marketing speaker. The concept is simple. Take some red nail polish and put a dot on your watch or cell phone. Then every time you see that red dot, it will jog something extraordinary in your brain to make you want to achieve that aim. It is called subliminal perception and is used massively in advertising.
So What is a Realistic Goal?
The best RED-DOT-GOAL you can establish this year is one you will achieve, and I have found that one new accomplishment a year is doable. More than that isn't because life doesn't get done. Let me give an example. In reading Matthew Kelly's books, he challenged me to increase my reading to "five pages a day of a good book." I could do that, and I did. After the first year, I'd read several books which had hitherto before collected dust. And that habit has remained for thirteen years, with 61 books being read and recorded. A pattern is easy to do and easy NOT to do. So JUST DO IT, as NIKE says. All you need is one change a year.
The other piece of advice about your RED-DOT-GOAL is to be vocal about your improvement--tell a friend or your spouse; also, be specific and write it down, say in your Bible. A Biblical insertion would be, "I plan to read five pages a day of a good book every Monday through Friday." A nebulous goal would be, "I want to read more." Which one has a sharper focus and will more likely get done? And remember, every time you look at your watch or cell phone, that "red dot" is staring back at you to remind you to finish. Extremely effective at a meager cost.
Don't Press Snooze
What is your worst downfall with your RED-DOT-GOAL? For me, it's the snooze button on my cell phone, particularly since I am retired. Yep, sleep the hours away instead of getting up and going on my dream. Here is an example. The alarm goes off at 9 AM, and I eventually get up by 10ish. The two dogs want their breath chewies and to
go outside to the bathroom. The day drifts along; I walk my 30 minutes at the gym, and by that time, it is 3:00 PM--two hours after I should have started my writing goal—the problem--the snooze button. So recognize your nemesis, and deal with it. It will defeat your one goal this year otherwise.
Reward Yourself Along the Way
Ok, suppose you are committed to Intermittent Fasting this year to lose weight and gain better health. You have written down the times you will fast, you've told someone, but how are you supposed to reward yourself? With food? Preferably not. One way would be to treat yourself to a downtown purchase or visit Amazon for a simple ten-dollar find. Of course, the reward for achieving your goals is just that--weight lost, pages read, dreams accomplished, but sometimes things take time. So if you are daily plugging along, then be kind to yourself with occasional treats until the habit becomes a treat itself.
Teach Me to Number My Days
Psalm 90:12 says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." Why? Well, someday, you will be asked to show how you used your time on this earth. Did you use it for God or yourself? If God, you gained wisdom. And maybe, just maybe, that blob of red nail polish on your watch or cell phone really did help.
Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.