Happy New Year everyone!
I hope everyone is enjoying a great Christmas Holidays! From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful New Year filled with adventure and good health!
With 2020 rapidly approaching, I’ve taken some time to reflect and close off my 2019 goals and mull over resolutions for the new year.
As you can probably guess, I am a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. A new year is a golden time to set new goals. This said, resolutions are not for everyone. A recent article by Tim Ferriss describes how he doesn’t do resolutions and instead performs a Past Year Review (PYR). This approach is similar to an After Action Review (AAR), for those in the corporate or military world. In a PYR, you do a week-by-week review of the year, highlighting the activities and people that triggered peak positive and negative emotions. After summarizing the year, identify the top 20% and immediately schedule more of that into the new year. You can read Tim Ferriss’ article here. As an aside, I personally only subscribe to a single weekly newsletter, and that is Ferriss’. He always has interesting stuff.
For those who like the idea of resolutions, but struggle with them, there are many strategies that drive success. For one, I recommend setting goals when you are relaxed, energized and can clearly visualize yourself working towards the goals. A morning beach run and a little Tai Chi helped offer the clarity for my 2020 goals.
Finally, if you are reluctant to set resolutions / goals, and the PYR strategy won’t work because you don’t have a journal, then my final recommendation is to start journaling. This alone makes an achievable resolution. Journalling is also the single most powerful strategy to keep yourself focused on your goals and to bring clarity to your life.
Happy New Year, and all the best for 2020!
Following is an older post on strategies to set achievable goals.
New Year's Resolutions
posted Jan 9, 2014, 1:32 PM by Dave Hoover
Have you made New Year’s Resolution for 2014? Let’s have a show of hands… If not, why not?!?!?! Now the tougher question for those who have set goals: Have you broken them already? Statistically 64% of resolutions are broken by the end of January. This is a horribly sad statistic.
We make resolutions because we want to better ourselves: to improve our health, lose weight, gain muscle, learn new skills, to be a better person. New Years is a fantastic time to initiate these changes. It is the beginning of a new year after all.
There are several keys to successfully achieving your goals. Most importantly, make the goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Specific: Clearly identify your goal. An abstract goal such as “I want to get fit.” is easiest to break.
Measurable: Quantify the results. This turns your success into a simple yes/no answer.
Achievable: Ensure the goal is within your reach. It should challenge you, but not so much that it is beyond your reasonable abilities. Setting too aggressive of a goal sets you up for failure even before you begin.
Relevant: Why do you want this goal? Identify your motivation and keep that motivation top of mind. In moments of weakness when you consider breaking your resolution and ask yourself “why am I doing this”, be sure to have this answer close at hand.
Time-based: Open-ended goals by their very definition are never achieved. Working towards a longer-term higher goal is fantastic, but be sure the steps along the way are date-stamped and SMART.
Other tools to achieving your goals:
1. Tell others about it. Make yourself accountable. A peer group can inspire and support.
2. Break the goal down into smaller baby steps. This way you can celebrate small successes along the way.
3. Set stakes. Choose a reward for when you achieve your goal. More importantly set a punishment for if you fail your goal. Research has shown people are more highly motivated by the potential for losing something than by the potential to gain. This is the principle of sites such as stickK.com, whereby people set anti-charities that they will donate to if they fail their goal. A goal with real consequences is highly motivating.
Once you set your goal, let nothing deter you from achieving that goal. Psychology has shown that how you treat your goals is habit forming. If you set goals and reach them, this builds the foundation for succeeding in future goals. If you set goals and forget about them, failure is equally habit forming.
Now that you know about goal setting, let's look at one of the most popular New Years Resolutions: “I will get in shape in 2014.” While this goal is time-based to the year, it is otherwise not SMART. Instead look at the goal: “I will earn my yellow belt by June 2014.” Here is a goal that will achieve “getting in shape” in very SMART ways. Further, a dojo provides a peer group of like-minded individuals where everyone is looking to get in better shape. Also this goal provides baby steps that sets one up for the next goal; the next belt. As for the stakes, the carrot and stick are yours for the choosing.
Regardless of the specifics, I do highly recommend setting New Years Resolutions. It is only by setting goals can one hope to better oneself.