At the end of every year, without fail, my brain flips into a period of reflection and soul-searching. I start to assess what went well that year, what I’ve achieved and also what I haven’t. I ask lots of why’s and why nots and I find myself dreaming about what is next, how I can be better, how I can do more or experience more, and how to generally be happier in my life.
Having a dream and a vision for what you want is powerful. Taking the time to really set intentions and assess “who we are” and “what we want” leads to significant increases in satisfaction. Research tells us that by aligning to our values at our core, we improve our confidence, decrease our stress, and are generally happier people.
I love the dreaming part and making lists of what I want for that next new year. I get very excited about what’s next and kick off the New Year with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Somewhere along the way, though, my resolutions fall to the wayside – usually in February and once or twice I think I’ve made it through to May – but then my resolution is forgotten and I find myself repeating the same cycle for the next year’s and it goes on and on and on.
My moderate-to-low success story is, unfortunately, similar to most people who jump on the New Years’ Resolution bandwagon year after year after year.
So why do resolutions fail?
During this year end and in any new beginning period, it is common for people to set grandiose goals or resolutions that require significant change and drastic action. In addition, resolutions are usually set with no real plan for how to actually achieve them at all. We dream big and want more for ourselves, which that in itself is powerful, but when we don’t put pen to paper and map out exactly how we plan to get from A to Z, the likelihood of achieving these goals diminish significantly.
There’s a great quote “a goal without a plan is just a wish” and more often than not, New Year’s Resolutions become wishes. While having our wishes come true on their own would be amazing, here are a few simple tips to making sure that your resolutions become reality.
Understand Your Motivation – during your reflection and the dreaming time, ask yourself “why” several times to really understand what it is that you really want. When considering your goal, know what the motivation is behind it. By tapping into and understanding your core desires around it, you’ll be able to better set your goals, milestones and celebrate success along the way. You’ll also get the benefit of connecting your goal to something that will truly increase your satisfaction too.
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals – now that you know what it is that you really want and why, it’s time to make sure that you goal is something that you have the ability to accomplish. Think about what is realistic and achievable with the resources that you have available to you. Ask yourself what you are actually willing to do to achieve that goal. Once you have those answers, write your goal out keeping SMART in mind – specific (add details that matter), measurable (what does success look like), achievable (do you have the skills and resources to achieve the goal), relevant (does it impact your happiness/business/etc), time-bound (what’s the ideal target date).
Make an Action Plan – with your SMART goal established and success in mind, a critical next step is to break the goal down into an action plan. This can be done in several ways but my recommendation is to start at the beginning asking yourself what is the very first step that you need to take to reach your goal. Think teeny, tiny steps too. This enables the goal to feel less overwhelming and gives you the opportunity to celebrate many small victories along the way. Map out the steps to your overarching resolution with mini-SMART goals along the way – especially with deadlines in mind.
Find an Accountability Partner – and now that you have a vision, a goal and a plan, it’s time to start talking about it. The more you share it, the more it becomes reality. And the more people that know, the more support that you have. You may not feel comfortable sharing this goal broadly but try to find a partner that can support you along the way, check in with you or who you can share your successes with. By utilizing your community for support, you will not only reach your goal but you’ll have a greater connection with them (and maybe can support their goals too).
Let's Start a Resolution Revolution
New Year’s Resolutions have a bad reputation – but they don’t have to. The idea behind dreaming about what you really want, setting a goal and putting a plan in motion to achieve success is important to our continued personal and professional development. Let’s break the cycle of failed resolutions together and make this New Year the best year yet!
If you have any questions on how to set your resolutions and success in motion, WeInspireWe is here for you. Schedule your free session today.
This article was originally posted on Forbes.