How to lead yourself into a new year
Learn what to do instead of new year's resolutions for a successful, happy year.
Audrey Del Prete
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. They are far too often something that we set for ourselves on January 1st and then forget about by February 1st. Sure, the start of the new year is a great time to reflect and create new goals, but in reality, this reflection and goal setting should happen on a continuous basis year round.
A word of the year
In lieu of New Year's Resolutions, a few years ago I decided to choose a word of the year for myself. This word would be my theme for the year so to speak. Something that reminds me of what I’m working towards. Something that I can use in my daily work regardless of what goals I set.
For example, the first word I chose was courage. I wanted to remind myself to lead with courage on a daily basis. The following year was strength and this year I chose resilience, something I'm sure many of you can relate to leaving 2020 behind us.
Not to say that I am not already resilient in many areas of my life, if not all, but I wanted to be reminded of this word and this virtue that I possess on a daily basis and let it lead me this year.
Choosing your word
I encourage you to now choose your word. If there isn’t something already front of mind take a moment to think of what you need more of this year.
Now that you have your word, I want you to write it down, everywhere. Everywhere you can think of; places you will see it on a daily basis. Take a note on your phone. Write it on your mirror. I wrote mine on my white board.
Choose your word and choose you by leading yourself through the year with this new theme.
Now, as far as goal setting is concerned (notice how I use the term goal-setting and not resolution), here is what I recommend.
If you haven’t yet, set an hour or so aside to just sit and reflect on the previous year. Write down your accomplishments, challenges, missed opportunities, and highlights or milestones. Take a look at the list and notice any themes. Is anything missing? Something you wish you did more of or less of?
Now, using what you see here write down your goals. They can be short-term or long-term, no need to limit yourself to one year. Just write down your Big Goals. You can keep it broad for now. We’ll get specific next.
Once you have your Big Goals, narrow it down to the top 3 you want to focus on right now. Let’s take a close look at these three. Now you can get specific and create a SMART goal for each one.
If you’re not familiar, SMART is an acronym for:
Each of your goals should include this equation.
Here is an example of a popular New Year’s Resolution, “I want to lose weight.”
Now turning that into a SMART goal will look like this: “I will lose 15 pounds by July 1st.”
It’s short and sweet but it is specific, the measure is weight, it is attainable because I am giving myself enough time to lose weight in a healthy, stable manner thereby making it realistic, and the deadline of July 1st makes it time based.
Now, take each SMART goal and break it up into chunks to help you realize your smaller objectives. List the quarterly milestones and then the monthly goals. Again, try to keep each as SMART as you can.
Using the example from above, I could break it down like this.
Q1 milestone: By March 31st I will lose 8 pounds.
Q2 milestone: By June 30th, I will lose another 7 pounds.
Now, break it down even further into monthly goals:
January: lose 2.5 pounds
February: lose 2.5 pounds
March: lose 3 pounds
Etc., you get the picture. Do this for all three of your Big Goals.
Now you have your year, or at least a few months all planned out. However, this is a working document! Next you will need to add action steps! It’s a good idea to review this weekly to make sure you are staying on track. Make changes as you see fit and acknowledge your accomplishments along the way, big and small.
Welcome to the new year.
Note: If any of your goals for this year include something along the lines of health and wellness, or if you’re just struggling to determine your goals, we can help! Reach out for your free Health Coaching Consultation today!
Audrey Del Prete
As a social worker, health coach, and fitness instructor, I help busy working professionals who struggle with work/life balance and want to make time for healthy lifestyle changes. www.alwaysfitcoaching.com