It is common to hear people dismiss the art of making new year's resolutions because of their failure rate. If the odds aren't with you, why bother? You swear every January you're going to change __________ this year. Really.
And come February everything is as it was before your lofty goal setting.
I'm no expert on resolutions or goal setting. I have, though, had a bit of experience in not only achieving major life goals in the past few years but also in failing spectacularly. If you're wise, you'll allow your failure to inform your behavior and while you may (and likely will) fail again, at least you won't be repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Here is how I've crafted my resolutions this year. Maybe some of these strategies will help you:
1. I choose a theme for my year - a word or concept that I feel (or hope) will define most of my life over the coming months. While many in the OneWord365 community choose a theme to completely replace resolutions, I prefer to let it inform my resolutions. What can I say - a word isn't enough for me, I need a list!
2. Keeping my theme in mind, I evaluate my greatest success and my greatest frustration of the preceding year. My goals for the new year will include doing more of what I'm doing well, and working to address and get a handle on what frustrates me.
3. I'm honest with myself. I realistically appraise my time and resources, so I don't overdo it on goals I won't be able to achieve from the start. I prioritize what matters most to me, and limit my goals to those areas. This is probably my greatest weakness when it comes to goal setting. I constantly try to do too much at once!
4. I aim to be as specific and concrete as possible. "Being healthier" is vague and provides no way to measure progress. However, vowing to raise my heart rate by being active a certain amount of time each week is something I can evaluate, and still moves me toward my overarching desire for "health".
5. Take time on a regular basis to take a pulse check - how are things going? If you're prone to forgetting (or ignoring) your goals, write them out and display them where you'll see them.
6. Finally, be flexible. As you evaluate your progress, you may find that you need to tweak your goals. Modified success is better than complete failure, so don't be TOO rigid. Discipline is important, but don't take it to the extreme. You'll only get discouraged and give up.
That's a snapshot of how I begin the goal setting process and structure achieving my resolutions. I won't claim any of those strategies are revolutionary or original, but I find them to be useful.
Tomorrow I'll lay out how I've categorized my goals for 2014, and give you a glimpse of what's to come around these parts this year.
Do you struggle with keeping your resolutions or achieving your goals? How do you set yourself up for success?