Tuesday, January 01, 2019

How to Set Inspiring Goals for the New Year

I've previously written about how  some New Year's resolutions are  NUTS, because they are
Negative , Unrealistic Timeless  and Saintly

Many New Year's resolutions go  completely against goal-setting wisdom. Goals  should be  are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound and positive - not NUTS! No wonder so many resolutions fail  before the Xmas decorations are taken down.

There's another reason why so many New Year's resolutions fail. 
We often  commit to something we feel  we ought to do  rather than what we  would  genuinely find inspiring.

Today I'm going to share the process to set my own goals each year. It  works much better than New Year's resolutions.

Imagine it's the end of 2019.
You are feeling really happy with what you've achieved in 2019
What would you be saying about what has happened that makes you so happy about 2019?

You will probably find it helpful to think of various areas of life so you get a balanced set of goals.

For example, you might consider these areas:-
Work, Career and Studying
Family and intimate relationships
Relaxation and Leisure
Making a difference (for example doing charitable or community work)
Health and fitness
Personal development (for example, having a regular routine of meditation or reflection or keeping a journal)

Pick a few of these areas that are most meaningful for you. 
Say out loud or jot down some goals for each area of interest.

Finally, make sure these are good, well-formed goals by asking these questions.
Is my goal specific?
Have I got sufficient control over its outcome? 
How can I work towards this goal?

If you follow this procedure your goals will be BIG - balanced, inspiring and good.

Here's an example of how someone, let's call her Sue, moves from fairly thoughtless and hopeless New Year's resolutions, with little chance of success to  much more inspiring and achievable BIG goals.

Initially, Sue makes New Year's resolution to lose weight, cut out red meat and go to the gym.
Her friends are making similar resolutions, it what the magazines say she should do. But they don't inspire her, she doesn't really feel very committed  to them and they aren't actually very likely to succeed.

After reading this article, Sue thinks about what she would really like to say about herself at the end of the year.  She comes up with the following :-
- spend lots of good times with my friends
- manage my outbursts of anger which make it difficult for my family
- read more fiction
- plan a really good holiday
- be a good parent

When she reflects on these,  she feels much more inspired  than  she did thinking about losing weight and eating healthily.  These  new goals reflect the sort of person Sue wants to be, they reflect her values.

Next, Sue checks to see if they are BIG - balanced, inspiring and good goals.
Are these goals  balanced? Well, they relate to family, relationships, friends and relaxation, There isn't anything about work though, so she adds
- make more of an impact at work by getting my ideas across. She feels excited about the prospect of doing this,

Next, Sue considers whether her goals are inspiring. Yes they are, since they came out of the "what would you like to be able to say at the end of the year" question, they are bound to be.

Finally, Sue asks whether they are good, well-formed goals. They aren't  bad, but they could be even better.
She works out how to make each goal more specific - for example "being a good parent" becomes "listening to my children and considering their viewpoint whilst also maintaining good boundaries"
and "spend lots of good time with my friends" becomes "arrange at least one outing a week with friends"
Sue has already framed them in  a way which means she has a lot of control over most of the goals though she admits she doesn't know how to control her anger better. She decides to ask a friend if they can recommend a book, therapist of life coach that might help with this one.

Finally sue reflects on how she can work towards the goals . She decides to write them down and put them  on the fridge to remind her of the goals and to check her progress at the beginning of the month. To keep the momentum up, she shares all the goals with her family.

It needn't take you very long to set BIG inspiring goals for this year. You might even consider sharing some of them in the comments section.

It will save you reneging on those nutty New Year's resolutions.

More importantly, it may help make 2019 be a year to remember.

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