New Year – Got Resolutions?

Happy New Year!

NewYearsResolutionResizeI’m not a big fan of resolutions but I am a big fan of goals. As I discussed this issue recently with a client she phrased it perfectly when she said the end of year, beginning of the new is a chronological marker of an ending and a beginning.

While there is objectively no difference between December 31st and March 15th as one of 365 days in a year I’m very much okay with going with the flow and using the end of year and beginning of the next as a “marker” to reflect a bit and think about what we want for the coming year – and to set a goal or two.

As I reflect on the past year it’s EASIEST and most NATURAL to split time between coulda-woulda-shoulda and gratitude. Pretty easy and natural to have thoughts that go between failures and appreciation.

What I find I most have to do is forgive myself for my fall downs, let it go sooner rather than later, (fail forward and recover quickly) and then focus on who and all I am appreciative for. Forgiveness is powerful and necessary to live a healthy, happy life. Forgiveness needs to be applied to ourselves too – not just to others.

As for appreciation and gratitude I have found three areas to focus on that are simple and can really make a positive difference.

1. Appreciate something about yourself
2. Appreciate something about someone else
3. Appreciate something about the world and your personal environment – the smaller the better.

There are many ways to skin the goals cat. Some will set 1-2 big goals and others will set 10 small to big goals. Who is most successful? It depends. We must always remember that energy is a limited resource and only a few endeavors are truly worthy of our precious time, energy, affection and money without exception. Regardless of whether you set 1-2 or 10 goals I do believe it’s worth our time to set them, get clarity, and focus on what we want–rather than what we don’t want.

What does “ideal” look like? So often we have feelings of discontent because we know something isn’t ideal but we have no vision of what ideal is. That’s NOT good! When the gap exists between where you are and where you want to be it’s really important that you have some vision of ideal for what you want really looks like — whether that’s relationship, financial or health-based. And ideally you won’t just have “some vision” as I just said — you’ll have a clear vision with specifics.

Goals, in general, should be S-M-A-R-T
– Specific
– Measurable
– Action based
– Realistic
– Time sensitive (deadline)

“I want to eat more vegetables this year.” Not so good
“I will eat one three cups of veggies a day five days a week.” Good!

The 2nd one above is S-M-A-R-T – the first one is missing the “S” and the “M.”

So in closing I’ll challenge you with five questions I personally answer for myself at this time of year:

  1. How do I rate this past year on a 1-10 scale? Why?
  2. What accomplishments am I’m proud of?
  3. What did I mess up and what can I learn from that?
  4. What’s a S-M-A-R-T goal that’s worth (PWE)2 for next year?
  5. What habit(s) do I need to start or re-enforce?

Energy is a limited resource. Brain Tracy says “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all!”

Pursue Worthy Endeavors
Persist Without Exception

Perhaps at this time of year even more than others this is a time to reflect on what your worthy endeavors really are so you know where to allocate energy and other limited resources to plow full-steam ahead toward them without exception.

Grateful and optimistic about the new year,