Happy New Year to my readers!
As we ring in the new year, there are common traditions such as wishing everyone the healthiest, happiest and most abundant year! It’s also common place for most of us to take a little time to reflect on the year that just passed. Plus let’s not forget the list of resolutions that most of us faithfully create year after year for what we would like to accomplish in the year to come!
The question is, does this process of reviewing where we have been and where we are going have any value ? After all, not too be cynical but the facts are most of the resolutions made will be abandoned before February 1st and not seen or thought of again until the following December rolls around.
This can be discouraging! I often hear my clients complain ” when I pay close attention to the things I don’t finish I feel bad. Every year I don’t meet my goals and it makes me feel bad so why bother setting resolutions. However, I know I should quit smoking and everyone always says those who set future goals like a 5 year plan end up being the most successful. I feel stuck.”
So should we we bother to set resolutions and reflect on the past if it will only put us in a bad mood ?
Well on the flip side, if done correctly, reflecting on the past and setting intentions for the future does hold a lot of psychological value and research supports that it CAN help us feel more satisfied and motivated. Yeah 🙂
So how do we achieve this. What to do :
1. Start by say good bye to 2011 properly . Instead of mulling over what you didnt accomplish this past year including the long forgone resolutions of 2011 -make a ” What I did do list”.
Research supports that those of us who take a hearty look at what we did accomplish are more liklely to feel satisfied about completing even mundane activities. This is important, because it’s likely that you will continue to be held accountable for similar mundane tasks in 2012 .
So instead of focusing on the fact that you’re still not living in your dream home- try thinking about what you did to keep your home comfortable and neat . For example , how many times you made your bed or ran the vacuum.
If you are not in a committed relationship and are in search for a partner- try thinking about how many dates you willed yourself to go on rather than stay home to order in Chinese take out.
If you are 10lbs away from your ideal weight- take a look at how often you worked out.
Or rather than focusing on your failure to get that raise or promotion- count how many meetings you attended, how many new clients you signed up, take a guesstimate on how many business calls or emails you responded to.
2. Try to come up with an objective measures – like number of hours spent at the gym, the percentage of hours spent in meetings for work or the number of reports written. Now a days technology makes it easy to track and review…. Just pull out your electronic calendar or review your sent email box for attachments.
Not everything needs to be monumentally important but failing to do many of these tasks most likely will cost you status and move you further away from your ideal situation. Plus this feeling of basic satisfaction will make it easier for you to do an equal or better job in 2012.
When setting resolutions here are some basic tips to that will help you complete the tasks or at least keep your progress going for longer than a month!
1. Know your limits. Industry leaders commonly limit their top executives to set 3 primary goals when tackling new challenges. I suggest keeping it to one if it’s involves a major life change such a losing weight or quitting smoking. Review your top goals regularly, which bring us to numero 2
2. Set monthly goals rather than an annual resolution. For example, say in 2012 you want to lose 25 lbs- well chances are you are not going to lose all 25 lbs in January – so break it up into chunks. How many networking events or conferences will you attend this month to help you get that raise?
3. Set physical intentions that will move you towards your outcome goals. Make an action plan that has targets to meet. Rather than saying ” lose 25 lbs in 2012″ create a intention list for how many days you will work out or walk to work. How many nights will offer to stay late at work? One of my favorite authors of “Getting Things Done”, David Allen calls these next actions steps not to do’s.
4. Track and record your progress daily or as often as you can. This way you can look at what you have done and use it as a motivator to get back on track if you start to fall behind.
5. Reward your self regularly for small successes & largely for big deals! The idea you are trying to promote internally is ” I almost have it, I just need to keep at it” Not ” I suck because I didn’t make it”. The idea is to shape your behavior in the right direction and keep you interested in working towards completing whatever goal you set up.
The video game industry has successfully exploited this psychological principle more than any other industry. Think about it, no matter how many times a player may technically lose or ” die”, gamers usually go back with the notion ” If I keep playing I’ll eventually win” .
6. Set up a pre-implementation plan for facing challenging moments:
“I know that when I go to my favorite restaurant it’s tempting for me to not eat all the french fries on my plate so I decide in advance to ask for a side salad.”
Or if you are trying to save money for that dream house then when you go shopping set a limited budget of cash and leave your credit cards at home.
7. Enlist the help of others. Share your goals by either signing up for organized program (eg, weight watchers ) or buddying up with a friend or a life coach/therapist who will hold you accountable .
Need more help? Dr Albin is offering a discount for the month of January for new clients who enroll in her success identity program. Which features goal setting sessions, personalized tracking systems and weekly check in to keep you accountable. We have 2 convenient NYC locations