It’s that time of year. The holidays upon us; We’ve all eaten and drank too much, we’re looking down at our guts, wishing we could see our feet, opening our wallets wishing the THOUGHT of money didn’t create a physical soreness where we keep our wallets stashed. Opening and reading social media, the morning and evening news and talk shows, it’s all about resolutions. These magical, mystical things you want to make happen starting at the stroke of midnight tonight – Because the best, most productive things occur at midnight after a night of drinking on a long holiday weekend – RIGHT.
Let’s look more deeply into what it is we are trying to accomplish and how we are going to get there, shall we?
Step 1 – Ditch ‘Resolution’ and Start Using ‘Goals’
It sounds simple and silly, but it’s effective. You wouldn’t build a house on a sandy beach without pouring a foundation, why are you going to set these spectacular expectations for yourself for 2017 without laying the foundation. Say it out loud to yourself “I failed to meet my resolution”, then say aloud “I failed to meet my goal”. Just saying the latter has a far more bitter bite to it, and you’re less likely to want to say these words in 364 days. Got it? Good. So from this point forward we have GOALS, not resolutions – feel free to resolve to achieve your goals if you’re hell-bent on keeping up with the Jones’ annual new year lingo.
Step 2 – Plan For and Document Your Goals
Newsflash – if you haven’t done this already its TOO LATE to get this done for January 1 – that’s okay! My dear co-constituants of this Universe – we move through each day at lightning speed and can rarely remember the conversations of earlier this day, disregard a ‘Goal’ you verbalized – likely silently to yourself or in a social media post three, six, nine, or twelve months ago. So rule number one – It’s not a goal until it’s written down. Exactly HOW you write it down is up to your and your learning/lifestyle:
- For me, I’m a more technical, logical bulleted type personality so I keep my goals in my One Note Application which I can see easily from my home computer, my mobile devices, and my office computer. I also keep a printed copy at my desk in my home office where I spend a great deal of time.
- For the more creative type, consider buying a poster board and creating a vision board to tape/paste/pin your goals. (Pinterest does NOT qualify)
- For the more audible learner, consider sitting yourself down in a quiet room, and creating a YouTube Video or Voice Memo on your phone which you can replay EVERY DAY, on demand whenever needed .
There are plenty of ways to plan your goals and set them into motion.
Step 3 – Quantify: Make it COUNT
A goal is merely a wish unless you can quantify it, numerically. Without this quality, you will have no way measuring your success in December, and you’ll have an unstable starting point when it comes time to renew/revisit these goals and add new ones. Check out some of the common mistakes and thought processes of goal quantifying below:
- Bad Goal (Good Wish): “I want to save more money this year”
- Good Goal: “I want to DOUBLE what’s in my savings/retirement accounts by December 31
- Bad Goal (Good Wish): “I want to go to gym more and lose weight”
- Good Goal: “I will hit the gym AT LEAST 3 DAYS PER WEEK; and I will lose FIVE POUNDS PER MONTH and weight SIXTY POUNDS LESS by December 31
Got it? – Good. This is a necessary and critical step. Without quantification of your goals, you have no way complete the next step.
Step 4 – Track it or lose it!
Getting back to my point about life being too busy; It’s foolish for us to think we can ‘set it and forget about it’. This is not a slow-cooker recipe or late-night infomercial about a rotisserie tool where you put a bunch of goodness in a pot, turn it on and at the end of the cycle, its magic. THIS IS LIFE, and we only get one shot at this rung in your ladder. How are you going to celebrate your achievement next year if you can’t remember how you got there? Or worse – how are you going to adjust your missed goals if you can’t see exactly where your stumbling block is? YOU CAN’T! This is why we track our progress.
How you track is up to you and your personal circumstances. For me, I generally work a Monday – Friday gig, so I try to dedicate the first weekend of each month t reflect back on the last month. (I use this time to analyze my budget for the previous month as well). I give myself an hour of my time to sit and quantify each goal’s progress, and adjust the intensity I need to apply to that goal for the upcoming month. It’s also important to share these goals and your progress with the people you’re closest to, and include them in the progress updates. Friends and family who love you will appreciate you making them a special part of your achievements, and they will cheer you on to hit these goals. Trust me, that cheer squad comes in handy when you fall short… (And fall short you will from time to time – it’s that human factor!)
Step 5 – It Gets Easier!
Thing of your initial goals as a tiny ball of foil. You’ve just developed the inner core. As the year(s) go by, you’ll peel some of the accomplished goals off the ball because they were a time-limited goal such as buying a car, or getting a new job. You’ll also add to existing goals such as financial savings and personal wealth. And finally some goals will sprout new goals to grow off the core such as reducing debt can eventually sprout into increased savings, or achieving an educational goal can sprout a new professional goal such as a job or promotion.
At the end of the year, you should have very little work to do for your goals for the next year. If you did your job well, you’ll already have new and adjusted goals in front of you ready to go, which will give you even more reason to ring in 2018 with added celebration!
So as we look into the New Year this weekend. Ditch the resolutions. Go on, celebrate tonight and enjoy the pomp and circumstance. I charge you, however to take a close look at the goals you’re setting for yourself and your family and make sure they’re set on a firm foundation that you can grow with. Stop re-building your wish list every December 31 and start realizing success in longevity through this crazy life we all lead!
To one and all a Happy New Year and an accomplished 2017!
- Part 2 – Holiday re-birth: How family and friends are formed in the season
- Social Media and the Fear of Missing out vs. Socializing and the Joy of Missing Out