You want to be different – right? Then start by not doing what many others do – don’t set goals and don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Research reveals that most of the well-meaning or guilt inspired things we vow to do in the New Year just don’t happen or we simply don’t follow through. It amounts to a great start, maybe, and usually a terrible finish.
Now that you’re sufficiently discouraged and put off goals, let me give you an alternate approach. Rather than looking forward to what you want to, or think you should do, take a look back at the past year and reflect on what you did that worked, really worked. What actions or activities moved you forward, brought you success, made you happy, brought you inner peace, etc.? Once you have done that, look back and identify what didn’t work – goal setting, being too optimistic and not having an implementation strategy, procrastination, being unrealistic, trying to meet someone else’s plans for you but not making them your own, lack of clarity, etc. (A piece of paper with a line down the center and one column titled – “What Worked” and another one titled “What Didn’t Work” will do just fine to complete this exercise.)
Once you have completed the two lists take a good look at the “what worked” list and start to carefully assess why you achieved those things. Evaluate the actions or behaviours you engaged in, the natural talents, gifts and skills you utilized that in a seemingly effortless manner got you to the destination quickly, effectively and most importantly, personally fulfilled and energized. How many of those positive activities can you get, or keep, on this year’s to-do list personally and professionally? For the more ambitious I’ve attached a form (click here) I use when coaching people to 1) identify what should be prioritized; 2) identify what is important but can wait for free time or grouped to complete in rapid succession, and 3) the most important one of all – the “Stop Doing” list.
If you do nothing else after reading this blog, spend at least 10 minutes identifying a handful of things that if you stopped doing in 2107, would make you more successful, happier, healthier, richer, smarter, more likable, …. You’ll know what to stop if you are honest with yourself.
Make it your goal to set no goals, instead live a guilt free year by acting on what you already do that makes you the best you can be and commit to getting even better in those areas so you continue to work from your strengths and passion.
Happy New Year and here`s to your success in 2017!
“If we did the things we’re capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson