The new year brings with it hope for the future but also a little guilt as well. Guilt because we look back at the previous year and think “oh I didn’t get to do as much as I set out to do.”
It happens and it’s disappointing. And nothing reminds us more of this than looking at that unfulfilled bucket list. Or starting yet another day with the best of intentions only to get sucked into your old roommate’s vacation photos on Facebook and then getting nothing done. We all promise ourselves that next year will be different.
However that’s quite statistically unlikely, given that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions!
So how do you break out of the vicious cycle? It’s all starts with how you make these goals. Here’ are the steps you need to finally cross off some of the most difficult tasks on your list!
Imagine next year’s Christmas letter – Every year people will send out Christmas letters detailingall the exciting trips they’ve been on t and all their new jobs/houses/kids/etc. Whether or not you regularly write one of these, productivity guru and author Laura Vanderkam explains in her TED talk about time management how you can use them to focus your goals. Laura suggests you imagine what you would write on next year’s letter today. That vision includes the 3-5 key things that would have to happen for it to be a successful year. Once you have picked those things you have goals for the next year – now you just need an action plan.
Prioritize – Once you’ve picked your goals you don’t need to roar ahead, all guns blazing trying to achieve everything at once. Write out the steps you will need to take to achieve each goal and create a priority list of what is more urgent. Things that need to be started on right away, like training for a marathon, take top priority. You will need to start carving out time in your calendar for training and book your place in the race. Less important things like cleaning out the garage can wait until a later date (but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether!) For an easy way to figure out how to prioritize your new goals, sign up for the FREE PDF I created for you called “Prioritize Like a Pro.”
Find the why – I wrote recently about a talk Julie Morgenstern gave, where she explained how she always used to hoard cookbooks. And she couldn’t throw them away until she understood why she kept them. The reason — she kept them because they represented the mother she wanted to be. (Isn’t that heartbreaking?) Similarly you can’t successfully do-over your goals from last year until you understand why you failed. Perhaps they were too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time to do any of them or any research that would have helped. Sometimes you have to realize that maybe you won’t ever do it and toss the goal all together. We’re not all perfect, sometimes you have to let go of those goals you’ve never quite gotten around to and be OK with it. I, for instance will never learn to speak French. That’s one goal checked off by default!
What are some of your goals for 2017?