New Years Resolutions... yikes!
Everyone used to set them religiously until they got tired of failing. Now their resolution is simply to survive... come what may. There are a few things that I have come to understand about life (from my extensive 22 years of experience).
1. You won't always accomplish your goals...
Life is such an ever-evolving organism, swayed by this piece of legislation or that natural disaster. We're never quite sure what to expect. Even if the local world in which we operate on a daily basis doesn't change all that much, we do. We grow, we learn, we adapt. As we understand more about our world our priorities change which shape what we want in life.
2. but having them is better than not...
If you set out on a roadtrip to Colorado without a map, you may eventually get there but it will almost be by accident. If, however, you have a map and on the way to Colorado you drive near Tennessee and decide to go there instead, you can change direction with relative ease. Knowing where you're going is better than wondering aimlessly (most of the time).
3. because a journey is just as important as a destination.
Even if you never accomplish your goals, it doesn't mean you shouldn't set them. The process of prioritizing your life based on your values - even if your priorities or values change later on - helps provide you with a starting point, a destination and a route to follow.
I wanted to create an entertaining, nostalgic, inspiring and easy way to set new years resolutions that didn't bring with it the horrible stigma of "goals to fail at."
Here's my process:
1. Recap of Last Year
This is a fun time of nostalgia especially if you go through this process with friends who you do life with. Write down everything in at least a semi-detailed fashion so that a year from now you can still recall those events.
Firsts (first kiss, first sale etc.)
Trips & Adventures
Awards, Honors, Accolades, Recognition
Successes (personal success not awards)
Major Current Events
2. Predictions for Next Year
Predictions are pure fun. When you look back on your predictions next January 1st it's always a laugh to see how many you got right =)
These are a few questions to help refine who you are as an individual before you launch into goal setting.
If this was your last year alive, what would you spend it doing?
What are three values you want to live out in the coming year?
What is one thing you are scared to do in the coming year?
If you could only do one thing in the coming year what would it be?
4. Goals for Next Year
Don't set more than three goals per category. It's okay if goals overlap different categories. Once you've done this, star or bold the most important goal per category.
The starred or bold goals are your actual goals for the year. Here are a few keys to keep in mind:
a. It's okay to ditch a goal
You know how everyone hates creating New Years Resolutions because they hate feeling like a loser when they fail? This makes that go away (no fair not trying). If, during the year, your priorities change - let's say you and your wife have an unplanned pregnancy - then you would be so dumb to stick with your goal of traveling full-time around the country in a van. Bruh, find a house.
There's a reason I asked you to limit your goals to three per category and star the most important. If you're trying to catch all three frisbees you won't catch any. Focus on one, catch it, then if you have time, go after another. Relentless focus toward one goal is the best way to succeed.
c. Be realistic
You're not going to become a rockstar overnight. Big hairy audacious goals (BHAGs) are great for life-time-sized goals but New Years Resolutions need to be attainable in a year... hard! but attainable in a year.
d. Be specific
None of this "lose weight" crap. Who's to say you lost weight? If you gain 20lbs in January and lose 5lbs in February, did you accomplish your goal? Specific goals such as "weigh 170lbs by June" are easier to achieve because they are quantifiable.
Knowledge / Personal Development
5. Letter to You
Write a letter to yourself - remind yourself of lessons you've learned, memories you treasure, accomplishments etc. It can be as long or short, as casual or formal, as messy or neat as you like it. It's to you - make it from you.
I hope that New Years Resolutions don't seem quite as daunting any more. Enjoy the process, tailor it to you and may you have a wonderfully successful New Year!
And just because I love you, I put my whole process into a Word Document that you can download and print or just fill out right there on your computer.