Resolutions—bah humbug! It drives me crazy
that people insist on making New Year’s resolutions on January 1 after one of
the most exhausting and busy times of the year. Bad timing is just one of the
reasons research shows that 80% of New Year’s resolutions will not come to
Instead, make January a time for reflection
before you set your goals for the new year. I suggest focusing on three
questions for the month of January.
went well in 2018? Start the year by focusing on what went well and celebrating the good in
your life! What are the career and personal accomplishments you feel good
about? Be sure to include the ‘small’ accomplishments too—something as simple
as cleaning out the garage may have made you feel less encumbered and given you
more time to spend on activities you enjoy.
did you learn? Was there a situation, project, or
relationship that taught you something? Acknowledging what you learned—whether
positive or negative—helps you apply those insights to the future. It may also make you realize it’s time for an
important decision or change.
- What would
you have done differently? Were there actions you wished you’d taken or
not taken? As with the first question, don’t dismiss what seems
inconsequential, like wishing you had taken all your vacation days! This question will prepare you for creating
2019 goals that can really make an impact on your success and happiness.
To make the most of this reflection:
- Schedule it. Whether you take an hour every weekend or set aside an afternoon at
your favorite coffee shop, schedule time for reflection.
- Write it. Writing helps us process our thoughts. I prefer a journal or notebook,
but use your tablet or computer if that’s what works for you.
To increase the positive impact of your 2019 goals, a suggestion I make
to my clients is to align their goals with their responses to the three
questions: what went well, what you learned, or what you would do differently. For
example, one of my clients moved into a more visible position in her
organization and realized that she wanted to be more comfortable with public
speaking. Her goal was to join Toastmasters International.
Take January to reflect on the year past, then set your goals for 2019. I plan to have my goals done by Valentine’s Day as my gift to myself. Remember that life is short, so take time to reflect, recharge, and figure out how you want your year to go!
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