New Year's Resolutions!The start of every year brings a plethora of advice on how to have your best year ever, set goals and achieve them.
Most are doomed to failure because we are creatures of habit and it is our habits that have got us to where we are now, wishing and hoping for things to change - doing the same things and expecting different results.
The system outlined in ‘Your Best Year Yet’ by Jinny Ditzler has been working well for over 30 years and is based on ten questions around which are woven many insights into how we can change our thinking and behaviour in order to consistently improve our lives, year on year.
These ten questions are the starting point of a three hour process of discovery, reflection and planning in which you can start to design your best year yet. If you like this approach there are many more insights in the book but this is a good way to get started - with a few prompts from me.
This is also the start of our 12 Steps to Success Programme - why not join us?
1. What did you accomplish last year?
Brag like no-one is listening! Don’t hide your light, you’re allowed to celebrate. Don’t compare your achievements with anyone else’s! What is small for you might be HUGE for someone else and vice-versa. This is not a contest it’s just about YOU! If you are finding it hard to give yourself a pat on the back take a minute to wonder why.
2. What were your biggest disappointments last year?
When did you disappoint yourself? When did others disappoint you? What happened that was not in your control? You don’t have to show this to anyone so be honest with yourself. It’s not about beating yourself up but about looking at how you handled things. If you find it easier to criticise than to praise yourself, ask why. Are you hanging on to any resentment or anger or have you let it go?
3. What did you learn?
What worked and why? What didn’t work and why? What would you keep doing? What would you stop doing? What would you add that you’re not doing now? Pretend you’re someone else - what advice would you give you – without judgement?
4. How do you limit yourself and how can you stop doing it?
Fear is the biggest limiting factor in most people’s lives. Most fears are about events we imagine that never come true. What is it that you are most afraid of? What stories do you habitually tell yourself? What kind of self-image do you have? What would happen if you told yourself a different story and believed it?
5. What are your personal values?
Imagine you are an observer at your own funeral. What would you like people to say about you? How do you want to be remembered? How can you make your life be about living to these values? Authenticity and integrity are essential elements in creating a happy and successful life according to your values.
6. What roles do you play in your life?
We hear a lot about work/life balance but what does this really mean to you? Everyone has many roles and they change as circumstances change. List all the roles you currently play – in no particular order - and then note the ones you’d like to drop and the ones you’d like to add.
7. Which role is your major focus for next year?
Imagine you are in a helicopter looking down at everything you do in your life spread out beneath you. There will be some things that dominate the picture and some things that are in the background. Using the section on your personal values as your guide, decide where you would like or need to put more attention next year. Acknowledge that you have only so many hours in a day and that your first priority must be to taking care of yourself. This is not a selfish decision but equivalent to the airline notice that says “put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others”. If you are not taking care of yourself you become a liability. Note any conflicts and then decide which role will be your major focus for next year, thinking how this will fit into a long term life plan.
8. What are your goals for each role?
At this stage you may be thinking “I’ve set goals before and not achieved them so what’s the point?” There are many systems and methods of goal setting and many myths and legends too. The only sure thing about goal setting is that goals need to be seen in the context of your whole life. If you start with the end in mind and align your actions with your values you are more likely to succeed. Do you have a life plan and long term goals or are you in ‘let’s see how things turn out” mode? When you set the goals for each role check for conflicts and make adjustments where necessary.
9. What are your top ten goals for 2012?
What you are looking for here are the things that will make 2012 the best year of your life so far – not your best year ever. What you don’t do this year can go on the list for next year so that each year becomes the best year so far. Choose from the goals for each role the ones that will make the most difference to your life. Keep checking back and revising the list until you have a list that thrills and excites you. If your list causes you doubts and worries dig up the reasons. Be honest with yourself and if you really can’t see yourself achieving a particular goal cross it out and replace it. There is no ‘should’ about this list. It’s about what you truly ‘want’ and no-one’s judgement is involved except your own.
10. How can you make sure you achieve your top ten goals?
Just writing down goals will not get results. Just making a plan will not get results. Just thinking positive thoughts will not get results. Consistent action coupled with a firm belief is most likely to get the results you want but even then, circumstances outside of your control may influence what happens. You can’t control what happens but you can control how you react to it. Your plan to achieve your goals needs to be a living breathing part of every second of your life. Every decision you make will take you nearer or further away from achieving your goals. Achieving your goals is not something you do as well as doing everything else in your life. Achieving your goals is about the way you live every moment. If your goals are consistent with your values and the roles you play in your life the changes you make will lead naturally to the end you have in mind.
If you’d like to explore any of this in greater depth just get in touch with me. I’ll be happy to help.