Here we are at that point in the year when we not only look back over the last twelve months – its high and low points, successes and difficulties, pleasures and frustrations – but we also look forward to a bright New Year, full of optimism and opportunity, and to achieving goals we set for ourself.
If you are anything like me you will want to make some New Year resolutions.
Why do we do this? To start as we mean to go on, to give some impetus for our good intentions, to help us to make a good start for achieving goals and to seize the fresh chances that the New Year brings.
Equally, if you are anything like me, you will find it difficult to stick to those resolutions and before long you may not even remember what they are. Sticking to resolutions and achieving goals means making changes to our actions, our habits and perhaps even our surroundings and lifestyle.
So, what can we do to stick to our New Year resolutions and how do we make sure we achieve what we set out to do?
The Success Cycle is a great tool to help us to become what we want to become, to achieve what we want to achieve.
Over the next few days I will take you through the Success Cycle and show you how you can use it to stick to your New Year resolutions and make 2018 the year you really want it to be.
Step 1 – my vision for my 2018
The first step is not to work on the resolutions themselves. It is to create a vision for 2018. A vision is a crystal clear view of what we want our world to be like at a given future point in time. It should be a very positive, ideal and aspirational statement, a dream if you like. It can also be the result of overcoming a challenge. If we are using the Success Cycle to help us to manage our New Year resolutions than our vision can be set for 31st December 2018.
Now, imagine you were to get into a time machine and step out of that machine on 31st December 2018. In your imagination, look around at your world at that point in time and describe how you would like that world to be, to look, sound, feel. Write it down.
I have done this myself and my vision for 2018, to be achieved by 31st December next year, is …
“To be happy & fulfilled, fit & healthy, with my time balanced between family, pastimes and work.”
The vision is not a resolution or goal. It does not have to be measurable or timed. It does have to be attractive, desirable, aspirational. It has to motivate us to make any necessary changes to our habits and lifestyle.
To give you some context, and to explain why these are a challenge and an aspirational move forward for me …
(1) my relationship with my wife and daughter is excellent but family relationships are my most important and they need continued nurturing. We expect some changes in circumstances over the coming year and so it is important to me that I invest in my family relationships and make sure that the changes result in fulfilment.
(2) I am not fit or healthy. I am considerably overweight and my fitness is at an all time low. I have difficulty with my legs and this hampers my ability to walk any distance. Rather than think of negatives (you know, losing weight, giving up certain foods), my vision is focused on positive benefits of being fit and healthy.
(3) Finally, I am passionate about my work and pastimes and tend to put a lot of time into them, sometimes more than perhaps I should. I have to constantly manage my time to make sure I balance between work, rest and play.
Step 2 – my goals or New Year resolutions for my 2018
The next step is to break the vision down into its component parts and to set goals for each of these parts. These goals are effectively our New Year resolutions.
A lot of people think of goals as something to do. They are not. They are something to achieve. They are not about the activities, which come later, they are about outcomes, results, changed situations.
A lot has been written about goals (see my blog post Why SMART goals fail and steps to setting great ones) but for the sake of New Year resolutions we can keep them quite simple. The deadline is clear (31/12/2018) and we can sort out how to monitor progress in later steps in this process.
So, in my very personal example, I am very clear in my own mind how my vision breaks down into meaningful resolutions, goals or outcomes. They are …
To be happy & fulfilled
A good relationship with my wife and daughter
Regular open communication within my family
A sense that my time & talents are used well and for a purpose
A sense that I am loved, recognised and appreciated by my family and others.
To be fit & healthy
I can go about my daily activities without difficulty or health problems
I can walk at least 15,000 steps each day
I am free of pain in knees and legs
Reduced sizes for shirts, trousers and jackets (I have defined these for my own benefit).
With my time balanced between family, pastimes and work
Devoting at least one day per week to family activities
Managing my work and pastimes so that they do not disrupt my family time
Managing my work and pastimes so that I spend my time on satisfying activities that make good use of my talents.
These resolutions also have built into them some elements that I can use to measure my success. But more of this another day.
In my next blog post I will take us through Step 3, how to plan to achieve my vision and resolutions (or goals).
Let me know if you want further support with achieving your goals.
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