Statistics show that roughly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Despite this low success rate we continue to challenge ourselves each year by banking on that one thing that we want to change.
Personally I’ve never really set resolutions. One year I resolved to eat more bacon, but that resolution was more deeply rooted in the perspective of doing things that add joy to life than actually consuming the world’s tastiest meat.
Instead of setting resolutions I tuck away a little time each winter to set my vision for the coming year. By setting a vision I get a clear picture in my mind of what I really want for the year in all areas of my life, and in striving to fulfill this vision I take proactive steps that will put me in a better place 12 months later even if I fall short of the ultimate goal.
Here’s the process…
- Write down each of the following categories with a little space under each: Work, Money, Love, Family, Spirituality, Social, Self
- Under each category define 1-3 things you would like to see at the end of the year in order to consider this year successful. Examples may include a monetary amount you want to donate during the year, the number of dates you want to go on with your spouse, or how many songs you want to learn on the guitar. Each goal should stretch you a little bit so you can grow, but keep it realistic. The ultimate goal is total personal growth, not domination of one specific area of your life.
- Under each of your goals set 1-2 action items you can complete to ensure you stay on track towards your vision. If you want to lose weight you may include hiring a trainer, joining a gym, or buying new running shoes. If you’re looking to save for college expenses consider how often you can tuck money away and where you will put it. These action items should be specific so you have a gameplan in place to be successful and a roadmap to follow if you get off track.
- Post the final document somewhere that you will see it regularly and set a time on your calendar each week to review your vision. If you aren’t on track use this as a reminder of the action items you wrote down and work in some time that week to get back on track. The key here is keeping your vision in front of you throughout the year so you can keep your big goals front and center. Resolutions tend to fail because life happens and people fall off the momentum train. Keeping your vision in front of you makes it hard to forget what you’ve set out to accomplish.
I find that this process produces results much more effectively than a resolution. To be totally honest, I’ve never fulfilled my whole vision before. Usually I end up achieving about 70% of what I set out to accomplish. But that’s not the point. The point is that setting a vision has helped me set the course, given me focus throughout the year, and led to personal growth that I never would have seen had I relied on a single resolution to improve my life or just gone with the flow to see where I end up.
If you want to take things even farther write your vision in the present tense, start each morning or week with reviewing your top 3 current action items, or find an accountability partner to help stay the course.
Do you have a method of planning that takes this step further? Or do you have a strategy that simplifies this process? We’d love to hear about it. Share a comment below or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.