Ep 11: How to make New Year’s Resolutions that work!

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Goal setting is one of those things that everybody tries to do at the beginning of the year. The general advice is to make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.

This appears to be a straight forward formula, however for years Daniel (my significant other for those playing at home) and I were creating goals that were:

Dreamy
Unrealistic
Mismatched
Beyond Belief

In other words: decidedly D.U.M.B. goals.

Every year we would set out wanting to do very straight forward things like – write a best seller, win a grammy, attend the oscars – having never put pen to paper, vocals on a CD or a script before a producer.

I’m only half joking.

The point is, we would end the year feeling defeated and deflated because we set ourselves up to FAIL.

In recent years, our challenge however has not been in the way that we set our goals – it was in the way we broke them down over the year and reviewed (or failed to review) their progress.

The process I’m about to outline below deals with this and is brilliant – the one thing you MUST do though, is set up a time, weekly or bi-weekly at the most, to check in with yourself and your partner – your greatest cheer leader. Being accountable to one another has made the world of difference for us both, couples I’ve worked with… and I’m sure it will for you too!

Don’t get me wrong, Daniel and I are still a work in progress. Two of our biggest review lessons for the year are that we didn’t make the most of each other’s strengths; and when we got too “busy” our weekly accountability ‘dates’ fell completely off the calendar (and our computer reminders ignored).

Having said that, we also accomplished more than we ever have before – which makes sense. Mistakes are useful when you learn from them and this year we learned loads.

Anyway – that’s enough preamble – here is the process we use, it’s a combination of Vishen Lakhiani’s 3 questions and Scott Dinsmore’s goal reviewing process (links below):

We do this individually – and share our thoughts after each step. We then reframe any joint goals.

1. Review

Review last year: what went well, what could have gone better, what failed miserably and what lessons were learnt? This is not a “quick” process – take the time to reflect, discuss and critically analyse but don’t get caught up over analysing.

2. Goal Set

Ask yourself these questions: In the next 3 years:

1. What do I want to experience?
2. How do I want to grow?
3. How do I want to contribute?

Then, based on the above, ask yourself: what key areas do I want to focus on in the next year (i.e. Marriage, Business, Community, Finance, Health, Personal Growth etc) and what are my goals? I aim for no more than 3 goals per area and then I break those down into weekly, monthly and yearly tasks.

3. Systemise

Adopt and use a system. This is where we struggled in 2014. This brilliant weekly goal setting process by Scott Dinsmore is seriously perfect. When we used it consistently – we got amazing results. The months (July and August… ok September too) when we just didn’t ‘get around’ to using it – really stalled our progress.

4. Recruit

This is the most important step. Your partner is your greatest resource – seriously. Your cheer leader, your critic and your set-of-skills-you-don’t-have. Part of our yearly (and weekly) review is asking what we can each do to help the other with their goals. Provided you’re on the same team – supporting each other and not viewing your respective goals as a threat to your relationship – you have a great opportunity to “master mind” and maximise on each others gifts and abilities.

Also, as Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Goals, broken down, are a series of habits – habits are a million times (that’s a real statistic I swear…) easier to establish when you have a friend… especially a friend with benefits.

So that’s a wrap-ish. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

I’d like to leave you with one final question I think is brilliant, and heard from somewhere – (annoyingly I can’t remember the source, I just know that it’s not mine): if your 2014 was a movie, what Genre would it be, and what would be the title?  Hopefully not horror and titled “Titanic”.  If so, maybe next year can be a romantic comedy, with the title “The Pursuit of Happyness” (sic).

Let me know in the comments below :)

Links

For the The three questions exercise and worksheet, click here:

For a comprehensive yearly and weekly review process, created by Scott Dinsmore (its part of his awesome free toolkit) click here:

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We are what we repeatedly do

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  • Jacki

    Great article, Anabel! I think the movie title of my life this year is “Too Fast, Too Furious” … but hopefully with a little more planning 2015 will be “A Walk to Remember” … :-)

    • AnabelNewton

      Hilarious Jacki!! What genres? At least it wasn’t “Scream” or “Apocalypse Now” :)

      • Jacki

        This year was a slapstick comedy silent film, where I was running around without a break. Next year will be a romantic comedy or an inspiring documentary haha I hope!