Making the most of your resolutions will mean different things for different folks. Whether you love or hate the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions you probably spent part of your holiday break thinking about them. Hopefully, your motivation is still strong if you chose to make some this year. But if you feel it is fading already maybe you can get some extra resolve by applying some of these ideas.
Why make resolutions?
Taking a few extra moments to reflect on where you are and where you are heading can be really fulfilling. We often get busy with the day to day tasks of our lives. Sure, being in the moment is great. But it is equally important to stop and poke your head up above the weeds to see what direction you are going. So even if it feels like a bad cliché it may still be a good idea to use some of your time each year to set your course for the future.
How to approach this task
This is the point where the exercise becomes very personal. To get your creative juices flowing you might break the process down into 4 parts. You will want to allow plenty of time to reflect. You may decide to do it over a few sittings. (Another twist on this is to also throw in a strategy session with your partner so you can be aligned on the items that impact both of you.)
- Start by identifying the major buckets /areas of your life. Think about such things as health, relationship, career, family, travel, hobbies, friends, or finances.
- Once you have identified your major buckets you are ready to take stock of what is currently taking place. Be honest with yourself about how you are performing in each of the areas you chose.
- Next think about where you want to be going. This is where you start clarifying what you really want from your career, relationship, health etc.
- The plan is then ready to be made. You know where you are, why you want to change, and in what ways. The only other missing link is the how and when. Depending on how far you are from where you want to be it may be something that requires weeks, months or years to achieve some of your goals.
I’ll skip the standard explanation of how to set goals using S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) technique. But if you aren’t familiar with it here is a good form that may also inform your planning process to make sure you are successful.
Beyond the Basics of Resolutions
This process goes well beyond the standard New Year’s resolution of losing a kilo or getting a little more sleep. You are creating a road map of what will lead you to a fulfilling life. It may sound all very analytical. That may partially be true but it isn’t purely an intellectual exercise. It is about making sure your actions are purposeful and aligned to who you want to be as a person.
By making sure your actions match your values you reinforce your resolve. It can provide more motivation to follow through on your goals. This becomes important as you get past the first few weeks of the new year. Many folks have something on their list that is more of a lifestyle change rather than a goal that is more of a stand-alone action. As an example, the approach you would take for a 2-week juice cleanse would be different from a full-scale lifestyle change in relation to food like going vegan. One requires sheer will power the other requires relying on philosophical purpose driven action. Both approaches may have a place on our resolutions list.
Engage your pack
Engaging your pack can be helpful for our larger goals. There will be some of your resolutions that may involve your family or close friends. Especially important is your partner if you are looking at adjusting lifestyle issues. You will need their support to accomplish them. Also, from a practical stand point it will likely impact them if you are making such large-scale changes to how you choose to live your life.
Peer pressure usually gets a bad rap. You hear about pressure to smoke cigarettes, or make reckless decisions. Sure, it can apply to those things. However, if you recruit those close to you to help you achieve your goals it can work in the other direction as well. They may hold you accountable if you are weak on resolve one day. They may also be a great cheerleader once you give them permission to speak up and get involved.
Seek professional guidance.
Seeking the guidance and advice of a professional may be invaluable to your achieving your goals. For example, if one of your goals it to get your finances on track consider a chat with a CPA or financial planner. They can help make sure you consider all options and not overlooking key details. If you hope to make career changes a few meetings with a career counsellor or coach may get you started in the right direction. If you are unsure where to start when developing a training regimen having a couple sessions with a personal trainer may help you get started. Certainly, not every goal needs a consultant but for some it may be easier if you do. For others, it comes down to you making a commitment to yourself and sticking to it.
Good luck whatever your resolutions may be!
Dream up big, hairy, audacious goals that you are passionate about and purse them relentlessly. You have to begin with the end goal in mind, knowing that a goal is a dream with a deadline. Clay Clark