The thought of resolutions can be tough when we are also told ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ or ‘leopards can’t change their spots’. So, it may seem the older you get the more you cringe when you hear ‘New Year Resolutions’.
In fact our resolutions are typically predictable and are often the same as the year before. This cycle is due to the fact that most people fail to achieve their resolutions of 12 months earlier.
Part of the challenge lies in the fact that we chose resolutions because it’s just that time of year – there is no other motivating factor. We tend to grab a mismatch of resolutions, which often make no sense when you put them all together.
So how about this year why don’t you take the time to reflect and ask yourself these 8 honest questions to avoid failing again and making sure you are aligning what’s most important to you to your resolutions.
1. Take stock of what you appreciate about last year?
List at least 10 things you are grateful for in the last year. Clear your mind and don’t stop until you have at least 10 things.
2. What were your top 3 goals for in the last year and did you achieve them?
3. What one word or quote would you use to sum up the experiences of 2015 for you?
4. List your top 3 obstacles right now
List the 3 things which are your biggest ‘road blocks’ right now. Once you’ve listed all 3, begin ‘bullet pointing’ ideas you could consider to eliminate these obstacles. Use those ideas and action items to create a plan to demolish those obstacles.
5. List your greatest opportunities for 2016
As you enter the year, increase the probability that you will have no regrets this time next year. List every opportunity which you can think off, prioritise them and then begin breaking them down into bite sized pieces. Ask yourself, what are the next steps for the priorities you rated highest?
6. What is no longer acceptable?
List at least 3 things which you have decided are unacceptable to you this year. List items which, if eliminated would improve the quality of your life.
7. Make a list of people, both personally & professionally, you will invest significant time with this year.
List at least 3 people on both your personal list and your professional list, but don’t stop until you’re happy with the list. Include people who will enrich and revitalize you and keep you accountable.
8. List the most important skill you will begin to master in 2016.
What skill would represent the greatest improvement for you both personally and professionally? Skills take time to master. There are no shortcuts. So make a list of as many skills which would be helpful to you master, then prioritise them. The skill at the top of this list represents the one that will make the greatest positive impact on your life. Get your calendar and block-time right now every week to begin mastering that #1 skill.
So tackling New Year Resolutions will require some hard work and more than just good intentions. We are creatures of habit, so attempts to change require planning, self-awareness and honesty.
When setting the path for 2016, be realistic, take one step at a time and be patient and persistent. My advice is to set time each quarter to review these 8 questions to make sure you stay on track as this exercise is only as good as your follow through and the time you commit to reaching your goals.
What are you going to accomplish this year?