Made Any NY Resolutions? Why Not Set Real Goals Instead.

Do you make New Year Resolutions each year? Most of us do. I’ve made the same one for the past 5 years. Does that sound familiar? Why not take a more constructive approach and set real goals.

It’s good to hear other’s resolutions, some of them not changed from last year or the year before. But among all of the frivolity there is an element of truth too. The truth is sitting there just under the surface, quietly infiltrating your life. It may have been with you for some time and on each New Year’s Eve it comes to the surface in the form of a resolution.

Do any of these resonate with you?

  • I’m going to tell my boss what I think
  • I’m going to get a new job
  • I’m going to leave my job and travel
  • I’m going to spend less time at work and more with my family
  • I’m going to be more organised and reliable
  • I’m going to get a more senior role
  • I’m going to apply for a leadership course
  • I’m going to improve my work/life balance
  • I’m going to lose weight and get fit
  • I’m going to build better relationships with my children/spouse/parents
  • I’m going to cut back on alcohol and get fit
  • I’m going to rejoin the workforce.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Resolutions generally begin with ‘I’m going to ……. (as above). It’s easy to say ‘I’m going to’, there’s no commitment, no plans and no accountability.

After the excitement of the new year as has passed and the adrenaline associated with having a new (or the same) resolution subsides, are you one of the few who actually follow through? Does anyone ever ask if you achieved it?

If you have something important that you resolve to do and then don’t, isn’t it time to do away with resolutions and set real plans instead?

Before setting plans for this year, let’s reflect on the past year – the good stuff that you’re proud of and are happy to share with others, and the not so good stuff that you don’t want to relive, perhaps an event or experience that provided a tough learning experience for you and one that is best forgotten. Perhaps last year had no highs or lows, just the same as the year before – nothing to celebrate.

Let’s put your review of last year in a format that I use with my coaching clients:

  1. What was your greatest achievement – your proudest moment – your moment of shine – your happiest experience? How did it rate when compared with previous years? What were the outcomes?
  2. What was the hardest time for you this year? It may have been an event or an experience, a moment of shame or regret in either your professional or personal life.  How did this rate when compared to previous years? What were the outcomes?
  3. What plans did you set for 2016 that you didn’t achieve? How were they derailed?
  4. What is the take away for you, from the above three questions and can this be built upon next year?
  5. What parts of yourself or your life do you want to stretch and strengthen next year?
  6. What aspects of yourself or your life do you want to reduce, change or remove?
  7. Who has listened to you, supported you and been a positive influence in your life this past year? Are there others in your life with the same positive outlook?
  8. Who has been unsupportive, obstructive, critical, disinterested or has a negative outlook? How can you reduce their influence in your life?

Considering your responses to the questions above – what are your top priorities for 2017?

  • Which priorities will have your focus this coming year? Set them in order of importance.
  • What can be reduced or ignored? What needs to be removed from your life?
  • What has surfaced that needs to be explored and potentially included in your focus this year?

Setting your goals for the year:

  • Use the above priorities to set meaningful, actionable, worthwhile and realistic goals for this year. Choose those that will give you greatest sense of pride and fulfillment in succeeding,  that will stretch and strengthen you, and most importantly, improve your life.
  • Be conscious of the goals you set for last year – particularly those you only partly achieve or failed to achieve and why. Did you set your targets too high, too low. Can these goals be re framed to better meet your needs? Or discarded altogether.

Getting back to your New Year Resolutions. Continue to make them as it’s an amusing part of the New Year celebrations. My resolution is to write my book.  On the other hand, it’s more exciting and motivating to set clear plans in your life, that will enhance your life, build a future that you can take pride in, and effectively, to create the life professionally and personally, that will bring you a sense of achievement, fulfillment and happiness.

You owe it to yourself to create the best for yourself and your family.

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