The start of a new year is like a blank page on the newest chapter of your life.
How do you want your life’s story to unfold this year? Would you like to become more healthy, wealthy, and wise this coming year, or are your goals set more along the lines of the movie ‘Ground Hog Day’ where every day this coming year will have you living much the same each day as the day before?
It’s interesting to think about, of course, and most people will think about it – but the way the world really works is that it takes extra effort (i.e. ‘force’) to get us moving in a different direction than the one we’re on. (This concept was formally documented over 300 years ago by Sir Isaac Newton in what we now call the 1st Law of Motion, that states: “an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.”)
Fortunately for us, new information can be an external force that helps get us going, and so my hope is that as I begin to share with you what helps get me moving, it will also help you.
For me, one of the things that I use as a tool for making progress in ways that I want to go but won’t go without that some external force, is making New Year resolutions.
There are two schools of thought on the topic, of course, but I use the exercise of making resolutions as a way of helping to narrow my focus. There are just too many things in life that I’d like to do and/or improve on, and I recognize I can’t do them – or at least not all at the same time. I need to somehow attack them with a manageable approach or I’ll simply never make any forward progress at all.
Tracking my goals is also extremely important, so periodically, I will pull out my list and identify where I’m at on the spectrum of accomplishment.
If you don’t know where to start, here is a way I think you’ll find pretty straightforward to start:
- Begin by writing out every goal you have for yourself and/or your life
- Next, group these into groups/categories (i.e. travel goals, fitness goals, relationship improvement goals, self improvement, etc.)
- Now, prioritize these major categories, and within the groups/categories, assign a priority to each goal within that group (i.e. If you have a ‘Fitness Goals’ as one of your highest ranged goals for the coming year, within that group, you might have goals like 1. Loss 10 lbs, 2. Start exercising 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes, and 3. Begin eating more healthy/lower calorie meals.)
- Choose no more than 10 goals to work on, and assign a 0-100 percentage ranging to assign the level of confidence you have in being able to accomplish each goal. (If you cannot honestly assign at least a 70% or higher estimate to your ability to accomplish a goal, it should be eliminated from the list completely – for now – or at least reworked to make it more attainable.)
- Set up a plan for regular review of these goals
You can review your goals at whatever interval you choose, but as with anything, the more actively you track your progress, the more likely you are to actually make progress. Also, the more specific goals you set, the more manageable it will be to track and see progress on them.
Real life: Over the years, I have at times tracked the progress on my goals so loosely that I’ve even lost my list for weeks or month on end, but the amazing thing is that whenever I’ve found it, I’ve almost without exception, always already accomplished some of the things on the list even though I’d forgotten them. There is just something about making a list to help focus you mind and energy along a direction, and even when we don’t actively remember doing so, our minds are often impacted by the exercise of making the list and it helps propel us forward in that direction.
If you’ve never been one to make resolutions, what do you have to lose?