Success-Energy Strategist and Change Agent Michelle Cederberg has some advice on creating resolutions that will help us accomplish what we set out to do – and we can start any time of year.
“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.”
~ Jim Rohn
I’ve been pondering my plans for 2019. I suspect you have as well. The new year will do that to a person. This time of year it’s natural to think about ways we want to be better, do better, and finally find success at something we really want. The process may include a bit of self-criticism for goals we failed to complete last year, and optimism for what we might accomplish in the year ahead. “This year will be different,” we tell ourselves. But then we commit to too many goals, we add in new goals before we’ve conquered old ones, we throw out good goals before we’ve given them full focus, or God forbid, we do nothing. No wonder most of us dislike resolutions. Even still, goals are good, so let’s not throw them out with the last of the Christmas wrapping.
1) FOCUS ON THE WINS. What went well for you in 2018? What were your successes – small, large and everything in between? Personal wins and professional ones? Give some thought to all the amazing things you accomplished this past year instead of all the things you planned to do but didn’t. For me, I could beat myself up because I didn’t get my book completed as I had planned, but I did a lot of research that has strengthened the direction I want to go with the book, and I’ve researched publishers. Plus, I spent the last six months of 2018 rebranding my business and launching a kick-ass new website, a goal I did not have at the start of 2018, that has been a huge draw on my time, but also a huge win that will create huge momentum for me in the year ahead. I didn’t stick with my plan to meditate daily, but I started going to yoga again and I’m loving the mindfulness of my weekly classes. See how this works?
Grab a pen and paper (or a blank screen on your laptop) and start listing all your wins. Go through your calendar from last year and take note of what you accomplished. Just because you may not have achieved a goal you set for yourself doesn’t mean you haven’t been successful. Celebrate partial goal completion too. December 31st is not the finish line for your goals. Year-end does not mean you have to stop doing the work. Which leads me to number 2.
2) GO DEEP NOT WIDE. I was listening to CBC last week and heard an interview with blogger David Cain talking about ‘Deeper not Wider’ as a goal for the year. He says “because it’s easier to acquire new pursuits, we tend to begin what are actually enormous, lifelong projects (such as drawing, or language-learning) too often, and abandon them too easily.” The year ends, and instead of chunking away at last year’s goal, we pick a new one. How many old goals do you have stacked up in the corner?
So, as an option for your New Year’s goals, you could choose not to take on another goal, or to not try something new. Choose instead, to be more deliberate and focused with the goals you’ve already started. Especially the big ones. I have that big goal of finishing the book. If that’s the only big goal I commit to this year that’s pretty worthwhile. Smaller ‘reboot goals’ are worthwhile too. I have a stack of books that at some point in my past I committed to reading and never did. It’ll feel good to conquer the pile. And I’m really liking my yoga practices so perhaps a personal goal will be to fit in a second practice each week when it’s possible instead of adding in meditation? It’s a win either way, because yoga provides that meditative element I crave along with the exercise and interaction with others that motivates me. You can read David Cain’s Depth Year blog here for a few more insights on his Depth Year. Then think about goals that have slipped through the cracks that still want your love. Maybe it’s time to recommit to one or two of them? And, as you think about those goals, there may be a few that need the treatment of my third suggestion.
3) LET IT GO. Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore! No pun intended, but if you’re frozen in your tracks with certain goals, it may be time to let them go. You will waste a tonne of mental and emotional energy holding on to goals that have lost their luster, things you once valued but don’t anymore, goals you think you should complete but really don’t want to. Do you have any of those? For the past couple of years I’ve toyed with the idea of an on-line program. It’s a great idea. I could have a lot of fun with it and help a lot of people. But for now, with the book, and a real desire to start a podcast, I’m letting go of the on-line. It may become a reality in the future, but for now I’m not letting it consume energy that I could be putting toward goals that excite me even more. And I’m letting go of putting pressure on myself to meditate daily (even though it’s so good for me, and I enjoy the process). I’ll do it when I’m drawn to it and use my yoga to practice mindfulness until space opens up for me to revisit daily meditation.
You should be looking into 2019 with excitement for what’s possible, not dread over what resolutions to set, forget and eventually feel guilty about. Re-frame ‘I-have-to-do-this-resolutions’, into goals you can’t wait to get to. Success at anything worthwhile requires a bit of effort, and you’ll be more likely to dig in to that work if you like what you’re working on… or at the very least, you like what the work will get you. NOTE YOUR WINS, GO DEEP, LET GO… three ways to re-frame resolutions and gain goal clarity for the year ahead.
This year is yours for the taking. Dare to live it big.
Michelle Cederberg is empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.
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