Resolutions Don't Work: Simple Steps to Set Better Goals

Each year the calendar flips from December 31st to the following year. With that usually brings a renewed sense of excitement, enthusiasm and direction towards improving our lives in some or many areas. These are generally categorized in health, financial, family, career or physical fitness to name a few. Invariably the year starts out strong. The gyms are overcrowded, books are bought, budgets are put in place and we feel we must have will power to make it work. By about February or at least the first quarter of the year most folks have dramatically slowed down the progress or may have moved on all together.

The misconception of willpower is that somehow this is all we need. The truth is willpower is not what works for achievement over time. Willpower runs out and we are left with a sense of emptiness.

How can we stop this cycle? It starts with making a plan. A plan gives you clarity and clarity is power. Take out one sheet of paper. On this paper write out what your big five things. That is, what are the five things that need to happen for this to be the single best year of your life? Under the big five ask yourself what are my top five values in my life. Write these down. These are the values of how you live your life and how you like to be in the world. These values should match with your big five goals.

Next, reverse engineer these goals. Simply stated, work back from December 31st to each quarter so you have 5 subgoals per quarter that will lead you to accomplishing your big five goals. So, for January through March write down 5 subgoals for each of the big five that you need to accomplish by March 31st that will get you on your way to the end of the year.

That’s the simple plan for ditching resolutions and making a plan that is clear and actionable. To review the basics:

1. Write down your Big Five goals that you want to accomplish by December 31st.
2. Write down your Top Five values of how you want to live your life.
3. Write down 5 subgoals to be accomplished in each quarter leading to December 31st. This will allow you to chip away and have success.

Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

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