We’ve all heard the statistics that most everyone makes New Year resolutions but the vast majority fails to keep them. It’s tempting to say that a failed resolution is the result of a lack of commitment and work, which may be partially true. Yet, most people have the best of intentions, so the problem is deeper than simply commitment and effort.
I’ve never been big on New Year resolutions because they tend to be made in haste. They also tend to be goals or ideas about where we think others want us to improve more so than what truly moves us.
A good friend who was excited about his New Year resolutions told me that it is a simple process to figure out what is worthy of a resolution – what causes you pain, or what do you dream of the most?
This individual takes a day out of his busy schedule during the first part of January to sit down and truly contemplate what he hopes to accomplish in the coming year. The key part of his process is simply taking the time to ponder the coming year and the past year at a 30,000-ft. level.
He contends that it’s the only time during the year when he looks at challenges, problems, and even the successful parts of his operation from a long-term perspective. He uses this time to determine where he wants his operation to go next. He actually sets aside six hours where he locks himself in his office with a clean desk, a yellow pad and a pen.
Then he asks himself some simple questions:
• Where do I want my operation to be at the end of the year?
• What went wrong, what hurt, what didn’t align with my values or goals in the last year?
• What are the biggest successes or achievements of my operation in the last year?
• What excites me, and what scares me, about the coming year?
• If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I attempt?
• What do I want to add to the operation this year?
• What did I learn from last year, and what do I need to learn this year to accomplish this year’s goals?
• Who needs to buy into my plan? Who are the partners, supporters, allies that I need to accomplish my goals?
• What traits or activities are hindering me from achieving my goals?
• Which one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
I’m sure everyone would alter those questions, but I think they’re a pretty good starting point. I would wager that – less than two weeks into 2015 – a lot of resolutions have already been put aside. Perhaps it would make sense to block out a morning or afternoon and do some long-term planning and reflection instead.
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