A different strategy for New Year’s resolutions

Each year at about this time I, like most people, sit down and set my goals for the coming year. Typically, I open up the file where my goals from the previous year are kept, and take stock of my achievements. I am never really disappointed, but I often find that while I have accomplished a great deal over the past 12 months, much of what I have written down on my list is still incomplete, and much of what I have completed are not on my list.

What this tells me is that I’m not really writing down what I need to achieve, and perhaps some of the things I have written down do not fit in with what I really value, or want to achieve. Some of my resolutions tend to get transferred from one year to the next because I simply cannot stand to leave a goal left unachieved, even if that goal is no longer relevant.

In a nutshell, I set myself up for failure.

Now, some of you may relate to what I’m writing. Others may not. But this is honest self-disclosure happening here! But I have a plan to change things… and here it is.

1. I am not going to open up that file. And I am not going to review my 2010 resolutions. Instead, I am going to start with a clean sheet of paper, and develop goals that are truly meaningful to me, and are aligned with my values. My goals are going to be tangible (that is, measurable), reasonable, and impactful.

2. Instead of having a long list of resolutions, as I usually do, I am going to set down only a few; 3-5 max, that are really important to me. I am not going to try and become perfect, or accomplish everything I want to do for the rest of my life in 1 year. But what I do accomplish will be fulfilling and rewarding.

How am I going to do these two things? First, I am going to brainstorm, and make the long list of “want to do’s.” Then, I am going to spend time meditating and reflecting on each, and continue to do so until I have narrowed that list down to my Top 10. Once I have done this, I will write out well-formed outcomes for each. Yes, I will actually write down (or type in my case) the well-formed outcome for each potential goal.

Once I have my well-formed outcomes, I will then reflect on these Top 10, and select only those that will have the most significant impact on my life, and on the life of my family. I will select only those that have significant impact, and I will select a maximum of 5 goals.

Having selected those three goals, I will frame each of those 5 goals and hang them in my office, next to my computer screen, where I will be able to see them every single time I sit down. I will also schedule, in my calendar, 30 minutes each week to reflect on each of my resolutions. During this time I will revisit each goal, assess my progress, and ensure each is still meaningful to me as my life changes. I will be flexible enough to modify my goals, but when I do, I will revise my well-formed outcome for the goal – in writing.

In short, I am going to set myself up for success.

What, if any, changes are you going to make to your New Year’s resolution strategy?

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