I don’t typically set resolutions but I do revisit my master goal list at the start of each year and I re-commit to the plan I’ve developed. My goals typically fall into 4 categories: career development, personal growth, financial security and health. These might not be so different from yours. But with our goals in mind, what exactly do we need to do to reach them? How do we ensure success ALL year round?
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
With the new year finally here it’s easy to get caught up in thoughts of a fresh year equals a fresh start. This is a great way of thinking but it’s important to be realistic with your goals and not overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once. If you group your goals by category consider sticking to 1 or 2 things within each category. If you don’t use categories then deciding on 2 or 3 big items might be enough to start with. As the year progresses you might find that these goals evolve and new ones are added. If you start with a number that you deem reasonable it’ll be easier to stick to the goals year round and adjust as needed.
B reak Them Down Into Actionable Items
Once you have your goals in mind it’s a good idea to break them down into actionable items. One of my goals within my “health” category is physical fitness. I had to decide what this meant for me. By breaking this goal into actions such as “try a new sport” or fitness routine” and “commit to a weekly yoga routine” I was able to picture exactly what needed to be done to reach this goal. To take this a step further I’ve broken down each item a little more. I’d like to try a new sport so I’m looking into kickboxing classes starting in the spring. As you can see, starting small is key to avoid becoming overwhelmed as your goals can start to branch out.
Write Them Down
Something about writing things down makes them seem more concrete. Have fun with this. Consider writing your goals down on a dry erase board and placing it in a place you’ll see the list regularly; like on your dresser. Or create a creative collage with words AND pictures on a cork board. Even a list on your cell phone will do. Whatever option you choose, writing down your goals helps keep them top of mind.
Share Them With Others
Sharing your goals makes you accountable to follow-through with them. If you share them with family and friends they may ask you about your progress each time you see them. Don’t you want to have a good news story to tell them? If you find you’re struggling to stay on track, they can provide the encouragement you need to keep pushing on.
As previously mentioned, your goals may evolve. Give yourself a timeline but don’t try to do everything at once. Look at each actionable item and be open to tweaking along the way as needed. Perhaps your goal is to go for a run 3 times a week but on day 2 it’s pouring rain. Adjust your schedule as needed to fit in your run or consider visiting an indoor track even if you prefer running outdoors.
Sticking to resolutions all year isn’t easy but you can set yourself up for success by committing to a short (but impactful) list, breaking down each goal to actionable items and getting help when you need it. Remember to have fun.
All the best in 2016!