New Years Resolution, Done Differently
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
How to choose NYR that's right for you.
The first time I truly took my New Years' Resolution (NYR) seriously was fourteen years ago. It was a couple of years after, what I call, "my second life" began. I'd committed to completely revamping my life from being a victim, trapped under unfortunate circumstances, into an explorer and designer of life. Life was too short and I didn't want to die with a life unexpressed.
The first two years of "my new life", I spent exploring and developing life-awareness by going back to college, surfing, becoming a better single parent, painting, and training for triathlons, I realized, I needed to get a little more structured with setting and achieving goals. Hence, it began the evolution of various NYR approaches.
How do you know which approach is best for you?
Like Goldie Locks, I've spent the last fourteen years experimenting with different approaches. Some big and complex while others were small and simple. The truth is, only you and the Universe knows what's best for the next coming year. As life evolves, so can the approach for setting goals. Some years call for major work-back plans across several aspects of life while other years need simple tweaking approaches. What I can share with you are four of my fave NYR approaches and supporting templates. These are frameworks I've successfully used for myself and executives in my coaching practice.
Before choosing a NYR approach, there are a couple of things to consider.
1.) What areas of life are you looking to focus on next year?
Take a scan of your wheel of life or the major categories in your life. The common eight are finances, fun, family, intimate relationship, health, self-development, professional development, and spirituality,
2.) WHY? Why is the goal important to you?
The most common NYRs have to do with life enjoyment, relationships, health or money (Money Inc. 2016). Maybe your goal is to be the #1 sales executive. Maybe you want to finally lose the muffin top this year. Maybe you want to spend more time with the kids. Take a moment to ask yourself “why is this important to me?” Many times, we are fixated on the tangible number to achieve, when what we are really striving for is a state of being or emotion, like peace, freedom, happiness or fulfillment. Are you striving for the commission check or the peace-of-mind knowing you’re providing for your family? Are you striving to see the pounds shed off the scale or feeling confident when out in public? Your motivation is deeper than you realize. Knowing the “why” inspires you to commit and take action especially on your most challenging days. In one word, describe the feeling you will experience when accomplishing your goal. Turn your "why" into a motto for motivation. I choose peace. I chose freedom. I chose fulfillment.
Below are a few approaches and templates (links) to your 2020 New Years Resolution:
1. The Work-Back Plan (High Effort)
The work-back plan can be a big overhaul. It's good to use when you want to make changes in several aspects of your life and have very specific and measurable goals in mind. It's a standard program management approach starting with the end state in mind and working backward, milestone by milestone. I used this for triathlon training, mapping out educational journeys, and achieving financial stability. I used this approach for four years in a row for a major transformation.
2. SMART Goals (Medium Effort)
The SMART approach is another common approach to coaching and business. It's a framework that helps you build realistic goals by contemplating five questions per goal: Specificity, Measurement, Achievability, Realistic and Timeline. This is a great process to take if you have any doubt or question with the goals you are setting for yourself. I used this approach when first starting my coaching practice. I wanted to conquer the world within the first year but needed to be realistic with what I could accomplish in my reality.
3. Stop, Start, Continue (Medium Effort)
The Stop, Start, Continue approach is as simple as it sounds. Make a list of behaviors or activities you want to start, stop or continue over the next year. This is an excellent approach if you have taken the time to reflect on last year's lessons, opportunities, and achievements. It's great for both personal and collaborative goalsetting. I've used this approach with my team over the last two years and it as fostered a growth-mindset culture. This is the approach I will take for my 2020 NYR as I have done quite a bit of reflecting over my peaks and valleys over the last year.
The Daily Dose is the least complicated planning but requires the most dedication. You simply choose a goal that's important to you and identify one activity that supports the growth of the goal every day. It's best if the activity is between 5 to 20 minutes. You then review the daily activity on a monthly basis for growth and optimization. This is an excellent approach when you want to turn a behavior into a daily habit. I used this approach last year to incorporate a handstand into my yoga practice by 2020. While I think it's an awesome approach for longterm success, I hit a snag. In July, I tore the cartilage in my shoulder and had surgery. The injury sideswiped my 2019 NYR goal. My recommendation for this approach is to choose three different areas/goals to focus on and not put all your eggs in one basket.
One last suggestion as you dive into your 2020 NYR planning, take some time in a quiet place to close your eyes and seek within what you envision for next year. Your intuition is your communication channel to your highest desires, goals, and intelligence. It's where your brilliance is stored waiting to be discovered and realized.
2020, here we come!
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