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Resolutions: Making them and Breaking Them, Part I

Across the globe on New Year’s Eve the ringing in of the New Year is traditionally accompanied by the making of toasts and resolutions. New horizons are scanned and new goals are set, yet many ask why bother noting failed resolutions from the past.   But wait, isn’t there hope for making a change this year? You bet… if you follow some simple guidelines.

So, what have you decided are your resolutions for 2015? What goals have you set for your career? For your health and fitness? For your relationships and love life? For yourself personally?   Many people look at resolutions or goals as a one-stop shop where one goal could make a difference in every area of their life. While there might be a few goals like that, it is better to look at your goals in key areas and make a commitment to smaller course corrections that can be sustained over time that will make a lasting impact on your journey and on your end goal.

When I began to analyze my life I recognized that I have many different facets to my daily routines and that I had different aspirations and goals for each area.   I decided to break down my life into a wheel with 4 quadranthttp://cre8ivereality.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4542&action=edit&message=10#s: 1) Work, 2) Health and Fitness, 3) Relationship, and 4) Personal Growth and Development.   Then I did a quick assessment on how I thought I was doing in each of these areas. I asked myself to be honest and in year’s past I have even asked others I trust to give me their ranking on my different areas. As I grew in my commitment to make and keep my resolutions, I found it important to find balance amongst the four key areas of my life.

By taking a quick but meaningful assessment of where I was and where I wanted to be I could identify areas that I wanted to focus on for my goals. I picked specific goals for each area of my life so that I could develop myself and raise my level of fun and happiness in general!

Then I used the SMART goal-setting model. SMART is a mnemonic acronym that has been detailed in many leadership and corporate management books and trainings. While I have heard many breakdowns on what SMART stands for, I have settled on what works best for me:

  •       S – Specific, Simple, and Sustainable
  •       M – Measureable, Manageable, and Meaningful
  •       A – Actionable (with time commitments), yet Adjustable
  •       R – Resonance and Resources and Rewards
  •        T – Towards what I want!

I set goals in each of the four areas of my life to allow growth and progress toward what I want out of life! I am careful to not set goals that are pie-in-the-sky because I know that I won’t honor them. I also look critically at my goals to make sure that they are not the status quo with some new name. I want my goals to challenge me but not be so overwhelming that I get stuck in my tracks. The goal of my goals is progress – today, tomorrow and into the future.

When I set my goals I take the time to write them down. I might mind-map them or brainstorm lists or maybe I already have something specific in mind, but the important step is to write it down! This is a step that many people forego and it’s just too important to let it go. When you write your goals down you are taking action by the mere process of writing! You are telling your conscious and unconscious mind that this important. I have often told clients that if it’s just in your head, it’s a dream. When it’s on paper or in a document, it is a real goal. Skipping this step is a sure way to kiss your goals goodbye!

With goals in hand, I set out to find myself an accountability partner. Let’s face it, if I already had the perfect life I wouldn’t need an accountability partner but I find that I am always reaching for something more and that finding someone who can check in with me and keep me honest with myself is a great way to reach my goals more quickly. I look for someone who cares about me and the specific area of my life in which I have set the goal(s). For example, when it comes to work goals I look toward my business partner to be my accountability partner. Not only do we have a mutual interest in seeing our business thrive, we want to see each other grow and be happy. Sometimes I look for someone who I don’t know as well, like a personal trainer at the gym. When I invest $$$ to get to my goal, I am holding myself accountable at a whole different level and the personal trainer is there to help me achieve my goals and keep me moving forward.

As I move through the year I take time to assess my goals and the progress I have made. I have learned to reward myself for goals when I am about 90% of where I want to be. Some people laugh and say, what? 90%??? Here’s my thinking: If you think of a bell curve that was used for grading you in school, the axis goes from 0 – 100. Most students meet minimum expectations and fall within the largest part of the curve from say 40-75%. Average in my educational system was a “C”. To get a “B” I needed to get 75-89% and if I wanted to earn an “A”, I wanted to hit the 90% mark! I learned that there was little reward scoring between 91-100%, except for bragging rights! I had mastered the materials and it was time for me to move on.

And so it is with goals. When I hit 90% I feel like I have accomplished most of what I set out to do and that I can skate into the finish line. I want a great challenge and setting a new goals allows me to focus on something new and exciting, while the current goals continues with it’s forward momentum taking past the finish line.

Now it’s your turn!

  1. Take a quick survey for yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being maximum happiness, fulfillment, efficiency, joy… rank your level of satisfaction with each of the four areas. Then plot those on a diagram similar to the one below.
  2. Develop a list of SMART goals for EACH area of your life. Take time to write them down!
  3. Find an accountability partner. It is always more fun, or perhaps more challenging if you are competitive, to move forward with a friend.
  4. Celebrate at 90% and then set new goals. The momentum will carry you sailing past the finish line and you will be well on your way to accomplishing even greater goals in the process.

Balance is a key component to finding your happy place. When I work with clients and I ask them to complete this exercise, they can seem immediately how out of alignment one or more of their major life areas might be. For example, we can spend 3-6 hours a day in the gym after our 8 hours of work, but that leaves us little time for relationships and personal enrichment.   Or, if you are retired you might spend 6 – 8 – 10 hours a day on woodworking projects or reading a book or playing on the computer, but these do little for your fitness and health goals. Take time to bring balance into your life and your rewards will be noticed by all!

By Kris Aanderud, BA, NLP, MHT

Cre8ive Reality LLC

Eugene, Oregon