Remember what you did last New Year’s day?

or the few days around then…

Goals and ambitions, whether personal or work related, keep us moving forward from day to day. And we all love making ourselves feel better by honoring a time-old tradition of setting ourselves some New Years Resolutions…

Before I get to a point of sounding sarcastic, I will get to THE POINT!

As far as New Years Resolutions are concerned we fall into one of 3 groups:

Group 1 – The ones that have all the dreams. They get motivated for “big things” in the coming year. They plan – all in their head – of how great things will be, how much more money they’ll make, and how far up the corp. ladder they’ll climb…

How do you spot Group 1 types:
They are dreamers. They have all the best intentions in the world. Some even have all the right skills to achieve what their dreams hold, but they never take action.

They don’t even go as far as writing down their goals and dreams. By the end of January on the following year, Group 1 types have all but forgotten they even had New Year Resolutions…

What’s wrong with that?
It’s obvious, if you never even write things in black and white, how do you hope to remember them, or take active action towards making them true?

Group 2 – The typical groupie here will do all of the dreaming of Group 1 types, but they will also go as far as writing it all down. Often on a piece of paper. Sometimes in a specially designated area on their hard drive. They would even know that they’re supposed to categorize their resolutions…

How do you spot Group 2 types:
They talk a lot about their New Year Resolutions. They have big ambitions, and they will most likely tell everyone about them (not to boast, but because they really have good intentions). They write it all down, and they swear they’ll work on the goals…

What’s wrong with that?
Most of the time, these people never go far enough to educate themselves about how to set goals that you end up achieving. Had they gone one step further to read up about it, they would have known that just writing down what you want out of life without ever looking back at that list, will not make it happen…

Group 3
– Now these guys have it all sassed out. They do all of the above. They do it not just every year (around New Year’s Day), but in 3 month increments. What sets them apart is that they go a step further. A step that makes all the difference between success and failure…

THEY TAKE ACTION on at least one of their goals!!!

What to do; A.K.A. the right way to set your New Year Resolutions.
I’ll keep this as short as possible.

New Year Resolutions are an excellent way to ‘take stock’ of how productive your past year has been. You can assess all sorts of areas in your life. Personal ambitions, professional goals, physical targets, or mental development achievements…

The problem most people meet is that they don’t know how to set those resolutions and how to effectively follow through. So here are a few points to help you along:

10 Ways to Set Effective Goals & to Actually Achieve Them

  1. On a piece of paper, write down the headings: Personal Goals, Work-Related Goals. Write your goals under each of those headings.
  2. Dig deep, but be selective. Only list the most important goals.
  3. Make the goals as specific as possible. Say “I want to earn $100,000 per month by July 2009.” Even if you don’t know how the heck you’d do it – be specific. Also, by being specific, you are making your goals measurable, i.e. at the end of the year, you can tell if you have achieved something or not.
  4. Set achievement deadlines – or you’ll have nothing to work towards.
  5. Set achievable/realistic goals. Think of it like this, if you set impossible goals, it would be impossible to achieve them…
  6. Make it public. Tell your friends and family that these are your goals. If you make things public, you will feel accountable and are hence more likely to act on and achieve your goals…
  7. Take action. Yes, don’t just talk about it, but actually DO!
  8. Small steps count. You don’t have to do everything at once, and you don’t have to have the full plan in front of you before you can start. Get from A to B, then from B to C, and so on. You’ll gain clarity with every step…
  9. Review your list often. Yes, review your list at least once a month. I print mine and keep it with me all the time. By reviewing your goals often, you help your mind keep on track. And if your mind knows the path, it will start seeing opportunities to take you in the right direction… Thing for a second, if you’ve just decided you want an iPhone, have you noticed how all you seem to see around you is iPhones everywhere?
  10. Be flexible, fast and be excited. You need to be flexible, to change course when necessary. In this day and age, nothing stands still anymore, so to succeed you need to move fast, and to be open minded.

Be excited – because if you don’t carry the ‘spark’ for your goal, you’ll never create a ‘fire’. Or for those of you who don’t like my analogy – if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you are unlikely to carry through with it to achieve the end goal!!!

The Challenge – or what’s the point of this post?

Most of us reading this post, will fall regularly in Groups 1 or 2.

I’m not saying this to offend anyone – heck, I’ve been in those groups for most of my adult life.

But because I know the value of being in Group 3, I decided to write this post.

New Year’s Eve 2008 is creeping in – and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating the coming of 2009. We have just over 2 months to get better at goal setting, and give ourselves the chance to get a better start on 2009.

I hope the points I made above will make you think. But better yet, I hope you will find the “10 Ways Set Effective Goals & to Actually Achieve Them” list inspirational enough to take my challenge.

The Challenge:

Set up your New Year (2009) Resolutions, by following the list above. Now I know you can’t share all that’s on your list, but to be in the challenge, you need to share at least one of your goals for 2009.

You decide which one to share with us, and post it as a comment below. By making it known to all of us, you’re making a public commitment to do something about it! Don’t forget to include a timeframe for your goal.

Go on, start thinking…
At the end of December 2008 (Dec 31st), we will close this post for further comments, and will review it periodically from then on to see who is meeting their deadlines…

The Prize!!!
The only prize you get is the satisfaction of actually achieving at least one of your New Year Resolutions.

I’m in…

P.S. If you have a tip to add to the 10 tips above, please feel free to comment – it will help us all…

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5 Responses to “Remember what you did last New Year’s day?”

  1. Teifion says:

    A good post and I agree that a lot of the time I’m a group 1 or 2 person. My question to you however is “why wait until New years to do something?”

    If I were to say to myself now “I will do 50 pushups each morning starting new years day”, my situation will have changed as will my frame of mind and I will no longer care about doing the pushups.

    Granted, think about what would be a worthwhile thing to do but to decide now is for me not a good idea, if it is for you then disregard my comment :)

  2. Julie Joyce says:

    Anita!!! Welcome back haha!

    I don’t think I am 1, 2, or 3. What are your suggestions for those of us who simply don’t plan?

  3. Hey Julie – yes it’ been a loooong while… again ;o)

    I wouldn’t say that setting goals is necessarily about planning (sorry to be taking you so literally). It’s more about getting clarity about the road ahead.

    Some people (like yourself, presumably) have a natural knack for seeing things crystal clear, so they don’t need to engage in the actual act of setting goals.

    Are you one of those lucky ones?

    Teifion, if I understand you correctly, you are totally right!

    Ideally you should be able to decide on something and do it as of the moment you made the decision – no need to wait ’till Monday, or Next Year…

    I had to take the commonly accepted standard as the largest common denominator – everyone at least thinks of New Year’s Resolutions :o )

    As a somewhat independent thought – acting on life-enhancing decisions should be a no-brainer. It should be part of the “action plan” – and it is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways of making progress…

    So go on – 50 pushups each morning… :o )

  4. Lynne Foster says:

    Around this time last year I started thinking about 2008 and for the first time in my life I set a resolution and stuck to it. It was possibly one of the toughtest things I could have set myself and not the usual promise of gym going…I promised myself (and several nagging others) that I would quit my job and go it alone (well, not quite along as there are two of us!)and by the 30th Jan we were doing it. It was possibly the best start to any year so far and I’m not quite sure how I will top that for 2009 but I’d best get thinking…

    My tip would be to tie goals in with someone else, it’s far harder to give in if someone else is relying on you.

  5. I agree, Lynne – one of the best ways to succeed at achieving a goal is to get a ‘buddy’. That way you are held responsible.

    One up on that would be to get a buddy, but to then also tell everyone around you about your goals – that way you also have to think about saving face ;o)

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