I love the New Year. For me, it’s a time to look back at the year that was, and start planning for the year that I want the next one to be.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because to me they don’t make sense.
If you want to lose weight, start a new hobby or save money, why don’t you start right now?
There is no sense waiting until January 1st to start something. Start on February 23rd or July 9th, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you begin, at any time of year.
People Often Fail to Keep New Year’s Resolutions
Most people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions.
You can read more about this at LifeHacker here: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-new-years-resolutions-fail.html
Instead of setting your sights on a long-term stretch, many people aim for short-term fixes.
Instead of doing this, change your mindset and look for longer-term goals.
Aim For Incremental, Instead of Drastic Change
Many New Year’s resolutions I hear are quite drastic and not very specific.
“I want to lose weight”: Great! How much do you want to lose, and what are the steps you are going to take to get there?
“I want to save more money”: Awesome! By 31st December next year, how much money do you want to have saved?
What actions are you going to take that will decrease your expenditure, or increase your income?
“I’m going to stop drinking”: Sounds good. But instead of trying to go cold turkey, why not aim for incremental decreases throughout the year?
Improvement Is About Good Habits
Incremental change feels more achievable, and it develops good habits. If you want to stick to something, you need to get in the habit of practicing positive behaviours to achieve your goals.
Two years ago, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. I was never really big, but I wanted to slim down and see if I could improve my (amateur) sporting performance. Over about 6 months, I lost 10 kilograms.
I didn’t diet. My exercise was the same. I simply decided to eat smaller portions for lunch and dinner five days per week. On weekends, I relaxed the rules as a reward.
The weight has stayed off for the past two years, because I made small changes and slowly developed good habits.
(Note: This holiday period, I did eat too much, and drink too much. Nobody’s perfect).
For more about building good habits, check out the content from James Clear at jamesclear,com. He’s got some great material about achieving success through incremental gains.
Set Yearly Goals and Aim for Improvement
Rather than make resolutions, I like to set yearly goals and aim for improvement that way.
Each year, I set simple targets that I want to achieve by 31st December the following year. Then I keep a record of them.
Each month, I’ll review progress against the goals and see how I’m tracking. If things are heading off course, I’ll make a change to try to improve the situation.
You can change your goals. Just like with New Year’s resolutions, there is no sense in keeping them static and only thinking about them once a year.
I like to keep the process simple.
First, identify one or more new year goals.
It doesn’t matter what they are. They might be to do with health, family, work or your personal hobbies.
Next, write down a target for each goal, if you can. If you want to improve your personal best running time, then your target is for the time to be less than a specific number.
Now, write down one or more actions that will help you achieve your new year goals. Be as specific as you can, but don’t overthink it. You just need to put some thought into how you will reach your goal, rather than just hoping you’ll get there by luck.
The Year In Review
At the end of each year, I like to review my goals as a whole, and see how I went.
To be honest, I already know how I went, because I review the goals briefly every month. However, this is a time for reflection.
Identifying where it went wrong. If you didn’t achieve your goal, can you find out why?
Finding a solution. Can you identify ways to improve the situation for next year?
Reflecting and feeling satisfaction. When you do achieve your goals, it’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve come. If you are in a better place than last year, you’re winning. Take time to relax and enjoy it.
If you didn’t achieve your goals, you aren’t losing. You’re learning.
Leadership and Goal Setting
I haven’t talked much about leadership in this post. This is intentional.
Whilst your new year goals may be about leadership, your career and improving the way your team works, they don’t have to be.
“Leadership Is More Who You Are Than What You Do.” – Brian Tracy
Part of being a good leader is about being comfortable in your own skin, and with your own career direction.
Because when you are feeling positive, happy and fulfilled, you have the best chance of instilling these feelings in your own team and workplace. Unhappy leaders struggle to motivate people and remain positive.
It doesn’t really matter if your new year goals are about your career or leadership.
It matters that you are moving in the direction you want to go.
What are your New Year Goals? Post them in the comments below!
Alternatively, if you would like to ask a question or need some help on this topic, you can send me a private message through my contact page.