Want productive resolutions?
A review is a must.
I saw someone in my network post that January 17 is “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day”. Apparently, it’s thought to be the day when many people ditch their New Year’s Resolutions.
Setting New Year’s Resolutions has seemingly become synonymous with setting a loose intention rather than a firm decision to achieve a stated goal. I feel this is a huge missed opportunity.
I’ve never put much weight on setting New Year’s Resolutions specifically. When I notice something I’m unhappy enough with that I want to change, a new day is enough of a clean slate for me to make that decision and begin working towards the goal. That being said, I am a serial resolution achiever and my success in regularly achieving those resolutions, month after month, and year after year, is attributable to two things: an honest review and my goal setting process.
There are two different review approaches I use for resolution setting: a time-based approach and a life-based approach.
Because New Year’s Resolutions are driven by the calendar, the most effective type of review for these are time based.
For a time-based review, the first step is to choose a time period.
The most natural period to review if you’re making New Year’s resolutions is the last year. However, if something substantial changed in your life or business during the year like a new baby, a move, team growth, or a change in your offers, it might make more sense to review the last month, quarter, or even 6 months instead of the year.
Using a time-based review period is also valuable for making new week, new month, or new quarter resolutions as part of your life and business planning.
Here’s what it looks like.
Reflect back on the time period you selected. What are the things that made that time most memorable, enjoyable, or meaningful? Did you have or do enough of them? Next identify anything that either took away from your life or business satisfaction or was missing, but that you believe would have enhanced these.
Of what you identified, you can likely sort these into one or several of the categories below
Business, Career, or Education
If you got stuck, you can also pick the 3-5 areas from this list that you feel are most important to you and use these areas as the lens through which you reflect on your selected time period
Sometimes, you’ll complete a time-based review like this and realize that things are pretty great and there are no big changes you feel compelled to make. No resolutions needed. Other times, you’ll complete your review and it will feel like everything is a mess and you have a mountain of changes to make and implement in multiple different areas. Both of these and anywhere in between are all okay and will happen in different seasons of your life and business
If you’ve identified more than one area where you’d like to make a big change or improvement and set a resolution around, I’d encourage you to choose the most important one and fully commit to it.
Make a list of the others, and brainstorm a few easy things you can do to improve those areas without a huge time, money, or habit change commitment so that you can reference the list later and incorporate these little wins into your year alongside the progress towards your main resolution.
When desire for a resolution or big goal is triggered by something specific you’d like to change in your life, I recommend using a life-based review.
Life based reviews typically make sense when you have the specific realization that you’re dissatisfied with something in your life enough to make a change. Maybe you’re playing outside with your child and get so winded you can’t continue. Or you see a barely recognizable photo of yourself from a recent event, and you can’t believe it’s you- in a bad way. Or maybe the way you’re working in your business has led to another week sick and burned out in bed.
Whatever the realization, it likely fits into one of the same life areas I outlined in the time-based review rundown.
The key here is to assess the trigger that led to the review, use your review and reflection to identify exactly what you’d like to change, and create a meaningful goal or resolution around the outcome you want to achieve.
Serial Resolution Achievement
Once you’ve identified a core resolution worth achieving, increasing the likelihood of achieving that resolution boils down to following a goal setting process that works best for your lifestyle and preferences.