How to Set, Keep + Feel REALLY Good About Your New Years Resolutions
Let me guess, New Year…New You right?
The idea of a clean slate and starting fresh is so tempting it’s hard not to get swept up in grand aspirations for the year ahead… only to be let down in a few months time when you realize there’s just no way you can actually write that book, get in the best shape ever, stop eating sugar, travel to Europe, save money, score your dream job AND be the best wife/ mom/ boss/ friend ever.
The problem with this New Year trend (and us super motivated peeps in general) is we tend to take on WAY too much in terms of setting resolutions or overly ambitious goals and wind up disappointed when we inevitably fail at them (and despite our best intentions, research shows that this happens with 8 out of 10 of our New Year’s resolutions). #beentheredonethat
But that’s not to say that resolutions are inherently flawed—that same data suggests people who set explicit goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them. Instead, the numbers are proof that people are simply not that great at selecting a resolution and setting out a game plan, year…after year…after year.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that this isn’t because goals are wrong. It’s because, for many of us, our approach to them is completely misaligned. So last year I started a new, simple, 6-Step Goal-Setting Process and it’s helped me get tremendous focus and clarity in my life, while actually achieving my goals. It also ensures the goals I’m setting are meaningful, impactful (for yourself and others) and challenging yet obtainable.
This exercise emulates the process of some highly successful people like Marie Forleo, Chad Carson and the crew at Intelligent Change (of the 5-Minute Journal), but I’ve also tweaked and made it my own, so that it feels real, inspiring, easy and fun.
So are you ready to make this year your best. year. ever?!
How to Set, Keep + Feel DAMN Good About Your New Years Resolutions
Step #1- C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.
There is no success unworthy of celebration. We are so good at being critical of ourselves but it’s absolutely crucial to spend time acknowledging our successes.
Write down everything you’re proud of, happy about, or goals you accomplished in 2016, and I mean EVERYTHING. It could be that you spent more time with your family, went on an amazing trip somewhere new, read an inspiring book on your list, or enjoyed some fabulous meals and wine with friends. Write it all down. Feels so good doesn’t it?
BONUS TIP- If you need some inspiration in this category check out this post by Simply Real Health. She has a ton of tips to make this part extra fun + unique!
Step #2- Now Reflect on What Didn’t Go So Well
I know, definitely not as fun as #1, but still critical to assess what you want to work on in the year to come and how you can get better at achieving those goals.
Ask yourself the following:
- — What didn’t go well last year?
- — What results disappointed me from last year?
- — Which of last year’s goals did I fail to achieve?
Step #3- Evaluate What You’ve Learned So Far
So, clearly based on your lists there were some amazing, inspiring things that happened last year (nice work bae!) and some things that were not so awesome as well (it happens, we’re only human).
Now it’s time to ask yourself the following:
- — What can you learn from both the positive and negative results?
- — What good habits should you continue and bad habits should you get rid of?
Step #4- Create This Year’s Goals
It’s time to create your goals. I want you to follow Marie Forleo’s tip and write out EVERY SINGLE GOAL OR THING YOU’D LOVE TO EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISH this year. Don’t worry, we’re going to pare it down from here but it’s important you get it all out on paper first.
To give you a bit of context, my list had 42 items on it ranging from going to bed and waking up earlier, to attending a yoga retreat, to creating awesome things, spending more time connecting with friends and loved ones, etc.
Step #5- Get Your List Super-Focused
Awesome job, you are so close my friend and I’m sure it was eye-opening to remind yourself of all these amazing things you still have left to do in this world.
But in order to get the highest, most powerful and meaningful results in life it’s essential to focus on a few critical things rather than a trivial many (or as my husband likes to say “you can either do a million things half-ass or one thing REALLY well). Less truly is more.
So how do you know whether or not a goal or destination is even worth going to in the first place?
You need to fully understand what you want your life to be about this year, how you want to spend your time and WHO you want to become.
Ask yourself these key questions with every single goal you wrote out:
- — What is the payoff for making this project happen? What’s the impact?
- — How will this project benefit others (and yourself)?
- — Who will you have to become to make this project a goal or reality (remember any project or goal that stretches and challenges you will always be more rewarding than one that doesn’t).
Bonus Tip: Try and bucket those goals into a few key areas of your life. My 2017 goals I wanted to focus on each fell into one of the following categories:
- — SELF- Think of how you want to grow yourself this year or things you want to accomplish in terms of yourself. This could be reading more books in a field you’re passionate about, meditating, nourishing yourself with whole foods, drinking more water, traveling, etc.
- — RELATIONSHIPS- What do you want to work on regarding the most important people in your life? Do you want to be a better friend, spend less time on your phone and more with your kids, be in a steady relationship, breakup with negative people in your life and foster a supportive tribe, etc.?
- — BUSINESS/CAREER- What are the major projects or goals you want to take on in this area? Do you want to get a raise, start your own business, write a book, etc.?
This should give you more clarity into the things that are important to focus on this year (the fewer the better)! If it doesn’t fulfill those questions in a way you want it to,
cross it out and revisit it again next year. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever take on this goal or achieve all those awesome ideas on your list, but just don’t put pressure to work on that thing this year.
Step #6- Plan For Success
First of all can I just say I’m so freaking proud of you! You’ve celebrated your successes, you’ve reflected on what could’ve been better and evaluated all you’ve learned as a result. You’ve written out your hopes and dreams for this next year and now you have LASER FOCUS on the big ticket items that are going to help you live the life you’ve always wanted to live!
You my friend, are on the path to doing EXTRAORDINARY things this year. Now for your final step that will help you actually take action and achieve your hopes and dreams for the year to come!
You absolutely must keep your goals behavior specific-oriented and NOT results oriented.
For example, can you spot what is wrong with the following goals?
— I want to lose 10lbs by the end of 2017
— I want to get out of debt by the end of 2017
We have set goals like these SO many times. They seem admirable and motivating, but there’s one big problem: each focuses on a specific result and not a practice.
— If you want to lose 10lbs, how are you going to do this?
— If you want to get out of debt, what do you have to do to get there?
Contrast this with behavior specific goals:
These are actions you take on a regular basis that increase your odds of happiness in the long run – the small habits that lead to successful businesses, completed books, deeper relationships, and more.
They look like this:
— I want to lose 10lbs by the end of 2017 → I go to hot yoga every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and eat at least one vegetable with every meal
— I want to get out of debt → I do at least $250 worth of freelance gigs on the side each month
These systems become automatic so you don’t have to think about them over time. You put them into place and let them go to work.
Okay and now for a quick recap of my FoolProof 6-Step Goal Setting Process:
Celebrate what went well
Reflect on what didn’t go so well
Evaluate what you’ve learned as a result
Create your goals
Narrow your focus
Turn those goals into action items and go get it!
WOO- YOU DID IT!
You are an exceptional person with a foundation for doing exceptional things this year. Use these goals as a compass to guide you on your journey and remember that success is a slow and steady work of progress, it’s never a straight, easy path. But that’s what makes it so rewarding, and continues to push you to grow and achieve your wildest dreams.
I wish you a wonderful year full of growth, health, happiness, meaning, purpose, passion and great daring!