I love New Year. It’s a clean slate and a chance to reflect on the year that was. It delivers the rush of optimism and energy we need to review, reset and plan for the year ahead.
So, why is it that despite our best intentions and well-laid plans around 80% of us have abandoned our New Year resolutions by February?
If you’re one of the 20 percenters who realise their resolutions – bravo! If you’re among the fallen and frustrated 80 percenters you’re certainly in good company.
If you’re keen to raise your odds of achieving your 2018 resolutions, here are some tried and tested strategies from my Disrupt, Dare, Direct workshop.
Reflect on the year that was
Be honest and gentle as you review the rapidly disappearing year. Celebrate successes of all sizes and don’t beat yourself up about things that didn’t go to plan. Taking a clear calm look at what worked and what didn’t will help you make 2018 resolutions that you can actually keep.
Ask the right questions
Ask yourself some clever questions about what you would do differently what you would do more of or less of or stop doing all together. Replacing ‘I’ with ‘you’ gives your intuitive feeling brain a chance to offer a gentler, judgment free response before your analytical brain starts slicing and dicing and critiquing what you think.
Here are ten questions you might like to try:
- What, or who, are you most grateful for?
- Which small things gave you the most pleasure day to day?
- What new things did you learn about yourself?
- Which of your personal strengths was most valuable this year?
- Which stand out achievement are you most proud of?
- What was your biggest professional break-through moment?
- What was the trickiest problem you solved?
- Which worrying events never actually happened?
- What one thing would you do differently and why?
- Which funny moment still makes you grin when you think about it?
Once you’ve completed your review – let it sit and have it close by when you begin to make your resolutions and set new goals.
Get clear on your values
Resolving to do things differently provides a great opportunity to revisit your values. Which values underpin how you think, feel and behave? If you haven’t thought about this for a while, this exercise could help you get clear about what you believe in and what matters most to you. Reaffirming your values does two important things. Firstly you can check that your New Year resolutions are a good fit. Secondly being confident about this helps you stay courageous and focused as you work to achieve your goals and to realise the magnificent vision they represent
Brainstorm your goals
It’s perfectly natural to want to change everything when you’re hit by the full flush of New Year enthusiasm. For lots of us, this means falling into the trap of setting a huge raft of highly commendable but totally unachievable goals. While losing weight, giving up smoking, eating healthily, exercising more and spending less are all great life affirming aims, going after all of them at once will almost certainly keep you in the 80 percent tent.
That said begin by thinking big. Brainstorm everything you’d love to do more of or less of or differently. Get your ideal plan out of your head and onto the page. Leave nothing out! If you’re short on inspiration try some of these.
Prioritise and pick three
Get help to do this. Revisit your review, talk to a trusted friend, and listen to your intuition as well as your thinking brain.
If you’re a serial stop starter choose a single goal. If you honestly feel you can juggle making multiple changes pick three at most. Make one a fun thing. This will help you stay motivated and reward you for progressing the other two. Last year I resolved to do something fun with my partner every week and it worked like a charm.
Make sure they’re SMART goals
Lots of us ‘get’ the idea of this sensible goal setting system but it can be surprisingly tricky to put it into practice. Taking the time to apply it can greatly increase your odds for achieving genuine, sustainable change.
Reality check then map each of your goals against these criteria:
Specific Can you define your goal in terms of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY?
Measurable Can you track its progress and measure the outcome? How will you know your goal has been achieved? How much/often? How many?
Attainable Is your goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?
Relevant Is your goal worthwhile and will it meet your needs?
Timely: When will you complete it by which day/month/year?
Make wobbles work
SMART goals are easier to stick to, but if you lose your enthusiasm, your momentum or even the whole damn plot – don’t give up. Review and recalibrate instead.
If the ‘f’ word looms large try substituting ‘feedback’ for ‘failure’. If your inner or outer doomsayers are telling you you’ve failed, tell them to take a hike. Take a ‘trial and correct’ approach and have a gentle judgment free look at what’s working and what isn’t. Tweak or ditch the things that aren’t and strengthen the things that are.
For example, if your goal to spend 20 daily minutes in nature isn’t working, try 5 minutes and see if you can build from there.
Think like the great inventor Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.
Work with a friend a colleague or a coach. Choose someone who ‘gets’ your goals and is prepared to offer honest feedback and lots of encouragement.
I’m a coach with a coach who helps me with my BIG goals. I also have weekly and a fortnightly check ins with two buddies. Each of my three supporters has a different role. My weekly buddy and I swap emails about weekly goals, lessons learned and ‘ah ha’ moments. My fortnightly buddy and I share ideas and chat through our wins and frustrations.
I’m also part of a Perth based Business Mastermind group where I get immediate feedback on my business ideas. I place high value on accountability and time driven deadlines and I get great support for both from everyone on my support team. In combination, this has been a game changer in my personal and professional life.
I’m launching ‘Momentum Makers’ in the New Year. This is a Business Mastermind group for Margaret River people who are ready to turn great ideas into successful enterprises. If this sounds like you, I’d love to chat.
If you’re keen to build motivation and momentum to make 2018 your best year yet, my next Disrupt, Dare, Direct workshops are on:
31st January Margaret River 9am – 1pm
1st February Bunbury 9am – 1pm
2nd February Perth 9am – 1pm
Wishing you a stellar New Year – If I can help you achieve this – get in touch.