Resolutions don’t work. This does…
The 17th January is “Forget New Year’s Resolutions Day”. Did you know that? I believe everyone has the power to tweak and improve their lives, but there’s a far better way than proclaiming “New Year, new me!” on 1st January and then giving up 16 days later.
In this video, I discuss setting measurable goals and working backwards to figure out what activities you need to do to achieve them. And how about breaking the year up into more manageable, 12-week chunks as well?
What would you like to change in the next 12 weeks?
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Resolutions don’t work. Change your life with GOALS
The 17th January is “Forget New Year’s Resolutions Day”. Did you know that?
I believe everyone has the power to tweak and improve their lives, but there’s a far better way than proclaiming “New Year, new me!” on the 1st January and then giving up just 16 days later.
“Get fit, read more, stay in touch with friends, get organised, do better at work” – do these sound familiar? I’ve made these enthusiastic lists myself, fantasizing about revamping my life to become a better person in the New Year.
New Year. The magical New Year, glowing fresh like a hopeful Monday, but 52 times better!
At their worst, New Year’s Resolutions are a smorgasbord of random hopes and wishes that we almost immediately forget about. The idea is great – humans want to improve and progress, so why not get started in January?
The problem is we’re being way too vague. We’re listing too many things. And then, we let it all go far too easily – on the 17th January, apparently.
Repeat this a few times, and we’re even less likely to succeed with our resolutions next year: we’ve proved to ourselves that we can’t or won’t get very far with them, so why bother?
Let’s stop this right now.
How about this year we ditch the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, and set measurable goals instead? And let’s give ourselves a fighting chance of success by focusing just on the next 12 weeks.
I read “The 12 Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington last year and it was a game-changer.
Thinking about a whole year is really overwhelming. Three months – 12 weeks – that seems like a manageable length of time to me, and the idea of making big changes in that shorter period of time is more exciting to me, too. It feels closer, and more possible somehow.
So, what would you like to change in the next 12 weeks?
First, we need to change the way we think about this stuff. “Get fit” is a nice idea, but you would never know if you got there. Run 3 times a week is something I can actually tick off my list – but why am I running three times a week in the first place? What’s going to keep me ticking off those runs?
Well, goal setting. But not setting so many goals at once that we get overwhelmed and quit on the 17th January! And the key is setting goals that we really care about, that connect to our vision of our future – a future where I’m healthier, more well-read and doing well at the job I love, for example.
There has to be a reason that you want to achieve the goal.
I want to run regularly because I know that it makes me happier and nicer to be around, and way, way better at getting on with my creative work. When I wake up and I don’t want to go running because it’s cold outside, I stand a much better chance of going for that run if it’s part of a plan leading me towards a specific, measurable goal that I really care about. I don’t have to question the plan every chilly morning when it feels like I’ve got sand in my eyes, I just have to put my running gear on and leave the house, and then do it again next time.
Try this: set a measurable goal in each of the following categories: health, leisure time and work, and then list the activities that will help you achieve that goal.
For example, I would like to run 10K in under 60 minutes by the end of March 2022. The way I’ll get there is not by crossing my fingers and hoping, but by following a training plan which includes three runs per week of different styles – easy jogs, speed training and long runs – I only know this because I looked it up on the internet.
In my leisure category, I’d like to read 12 books in 12 weeks, which means one book a week on average. To stand a chance of managing that, I have to set aside time each day to read at least two chapters.
As for work, I have many goals and many activities going on all the time – and I’m sure you do too – but I know that picking out one thing to focus on over and above everything else is the very best way to make progress. I’m still figuring out what that one work thing is, but I will let you know in a future video.
Write your goals and your activities down – yes, write them down! Your brain is not a filing cabinet. You stand a far, far greater chance of achieving your goals if they’re written down. It really helps you to keep going when you can look back at your goals and remember why you decided to do these activities in the first place.
Achieving your goals is about making a plan and executing it. There’s really no use making the most perfect plan there ever was and not doing anything about it, or even worse – never making a plan at all.
Just make a plan, and execute it. And then do it again next time.
I’m genuinely excited about kicking off my New Year with this approach. I try to do a lot of things, and I get overwhelmed sometimes, no matter what forward-planning and time-blocking I do – and oh, I do!
Time spent taking a step back and thinking about what are the most important things to you in all of these categories is never wasted, and I’m convinced it will be way more effective if it happens more than once a year, with a hastily scribbled list of New Year’s Resolutions.
I hope this video helps you kick off a brilliant year.
If you want to read more on this, I’ve put affiliate links below to my top 3 productivity books: Eat That Frog, The 12 Week Year and Deep Work – but make sure you’re not just reading them to put off working towards your goals.
I went into more detail on goal-setting and the power of consistency in this video, so watch that next, and Happy mindfully productive New Year to you.