I failed my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Because I never even wrote them down. I have no idea what they were! Its hard to achieve something when you do not know what you are aiming for.
Every year I (try) to set aside time to craft meaningful resolutions. I will (usually) reflect on these 2-3 times throughout the year and certainly at the end of the year to see if I accomplished them. But not this year. This year I failed. Without even writing down my thoughts I have little to reflect on.
Pull up to a quiet corner and a cup of tea. When you create resolutions, take the following steps to ensure that you achieve (or at least know) what you are aiming for:
– What did you set forth to do last year? What DID you do? If you are the kind of person who likes to write Christmas letters, this activity gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. You want to answer the question of, “Did I accomplish what I set out to do? Why or Why not?” Reviewing your resolutions, your activities of the year can help. Also, reviewing the entries in a gratitude journal or jar, like this one, can refresh your memory of went went well and put you in the mindset to look forward to the future.
– What is it you would like to do in the coming year? What is important to you? Let your mind wander and flow freely in this stage. Do not restrict your thinking. You may remember brain storming or mind mapping or stream of consciousness journalling; whatever you call it, record your thoughts as they come to you. If you are having trouble getting started answer questions that will get you thinking such as:
- In the next 30 days I plan to…
- 365 days from now I hope to be…
- 2014 will be complete when I…
- If someone wrote an article about me in 2014, they would say…
Do not limit you thinking! Just write it all down you can cull the ideas later (in the next step!) but not now. It is in this creative flow of ideas that you are inspired!
– Now, you may choose 5 ideas from your plan that motivate you and are meaningful to you. This is the time to be choosey. You may wish to select a resolution that is very doable, a few that stretch you and one has you really aiming high. Even if you do not select all your ideas from your brainstorming session, you may wish to add a few to your life list and come back to that next year.
4. Create the Smallest Possible Step
– This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. If you, write your resolutions and they are not actionable, you will not achieve them. Studies have show that resolvers are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than non-resolvers. So just getting to this point you are 10 times more likely accomplish what you set out to do than J0e Schmo who didn’t set New Year’s Resolutions. But if you want to actually but successful this year you MUST complete this next step. For every resolution that you set, write down the smallest possible step you can take to begin working on that goal.
Here is an example from my Resolutions 2012 (remember, I didn’t write down my resolutions in 2013!)
In the next twelve months I will double my business revenue.
In determining the next smallest possible step to take, I had to drill down into what needed to be done to double my business revenue and then drill down even further to find a step I was absolutely positive I could take. It looked something like this:
Today I will, prepare a list of open leads.
This was just one example. I could have gone many different directions but I needed to put something so doable that I would have no reason not to take the step.
5. Write It All Down
– I probably should have said this first but, write it all down. Keep a journal as you are reflecting, planning, selecting and creating your resolutions and steps. Then, in the end write down your 5 resolutions and post them in an obvious place to give you the opportunity to see and act on them frequently. Write your small steps on your to-do list or schedule them as appointments on your calendar (even better!) so that you will arrive at 2015 a success!