Happy New Year 2008? Six-step strategy for making new-year resolutions for 2009 that will last a lifetime!
2008 was not exactly happy for most of us - was it? On top of whatever else happened in the year, I was not able to follow my new-year resolutions for the third year running!
I have been actively making new-year resolutions for the last 3 years with very little success. It is usually regular stuff like fitness, skills, jobs, money, etc. It usually lasts for a few weeks. The longest was last year when I started jogging regularly and kept at it for a few months.
While analyzing why my resolutions have not been working I realized that most of these were ad hoc nice thoughts and did not really fit into any bigger plan. As a result, after the initial enthusiasm wore off, I was not motivated enough to keep following them.
It is that time of the year again and I am determined not to fail this year. So I have decided to take a different approach! I have not yet made my resolutions for 2009 but I have worked upon my strategy. Take a look at my six-step strategy for this year and see if it will work for you.
STEP 1: Reflect on 2008
1. What did I learn last year? If you have trouble answering this question, it�s time to change whatever you were doing. It doesn�t matter how old you are, you can and you should learn something new every year.
2. What was my greatest achievement over the past year? Reflecting on your accomplishments is an effective way to track your progress and also to raise self-confidence and contentment.
3. Which moments from the last year were the most memorable and why? It may bring up some below-the-surface passions and goals, or some pastimes worth exploring.
4. What have I struggled with in the last year? The objective here is to learn from your struggles and better equip yourself for future encounters.
5. What should I have NOT DONE in the last year? Steer clear of this in the future. Set up barriers against this if you have to.
6. Am I carrying any baggage from the previous year that can be dropped? Emotional or physical. Eliminate anything that might pull you down.
7. Is there anyone I should have called? Regular communication can solve problems before they fester. Finish this task before you start planning your next year.
8. Is there anyone who deserves a �Thank You� note? Take time each year to thank the people who have helped you. People always, always, always remember �Thank You� notes.
After reflecting on each of the questions above for a few minutes, answer the following questions about your biggest goals in each of these areas (not restricted to the next year but life�s goals for all these areas). Do not restrict or restrain your answers. Let the answers flow.
1. Goals related to family and friends: Is it more time that you want to spend with some people? Do some relationships need mending? Think about the people most important to you. Where do you want to take your relationship with each one of them?
2. Financial goals: How much do you want to earn by what stage?
3. Career goals: What level do you want to reach in your career?
4. Health goals: Are there any fitness related goals you want to achieve, or do you simply want to follow your doctor�s advice, or become a vegetarian?
5. Personal goals: Dig deep inside. What is it that you want to do � only for yourself?
6. Self-development goals: Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to achieve other goals? Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Does any of your behaviour upset you? If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find a solution to the problem.
7. Self-indulgence goals: How do you want to enjoy yourself? Make sure that some of your life is for you too!
8. Giving-back goals: Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?
Once you have answers for these goals, choose ONE (yes, ONE ONLY) key goal from each of these categories. Also, run them through the following checklist:
The goals are positively stated.
The goal are precise.
The goals are written down.
The goals are realistic.
There is at least ONE unrealistic goal.
Break down each goal into:
1.Your life�s objective
Make an action plan for each of the 8 goals. Also decide on a date every month when you will check your progress. Mark the dates in your calendar/outlook/whatever device you use. Give yourself the flexibility to revise the objective during monthly sessions.
Email the summary to your family and best friends. This is the most important step! Or better still, make your resolution(s) public! Tell the whole world about what you are going to do. Let the power of their collective expectations help you!
Write about your resolutions in the comments section below! Won�t it be fun to come back here and check how you and everyone else has done?
Shalu Wasu is a creativity consultant and trainer based in Singapore apart from being guest faculty at select institutes. To attend his one-day open programme on creativity on 15th January, 2009 at NUS, Singapore, please visit www.lifeahoy.sg