At the start of this year, I wrote a post about New Year’s resolutions and recommended that people shouldn’t make any. The reasons for this were pretty simple:
•Most people make resolutions because they feel they “ought” to
•If you needed to change your life, the time of year you set the goal is irrelevant
Marshall Goldsmith pretty much nailed the first point in his new book (Triggers) where he explains that people who set goals for themselves when they have marginal motivation, will not succeed. ‘Oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ play to social and other people’s expectations not personal ones. However, this is not to judge the achievements of people who did set goals for this year and who delivered against them. It means that they were motivated to positively change themselves or their lives for the better in the ways that were most meaningful to them.
However, Christmas and New Year are a great time to take stock. I am not a great believer in dwelling on the past too much. What is done and barring time travel, cannot be undone and is leads to “what if” thinking that is unproductive and diverts focus and energy away from what you can change in the here and now .So, just as a quick position check, two easy questions to think about when looking back on this year:
These questions are based on a simple Likert scale, which you will have seen many times. Of course, if you want to print this post, why not tick the boxes for real?
So, what is the conclusion? Did you accomplish everything you set out to achieve this year? Did you accomplish any of what you set out to accomplish in your 2015 resolutions. However the most important question – What is your direction of travel (Q2)?
If where you went in 2015 (metaphorically speaking) is not where you want to go long term – isn’t that an interesting conversation you need to have with yourself? This is right in the space of:
•What is it that you want to accomplish in life?
•What is it that you need to start doing to achieve my goals? #Startsomething
•What is it I need to change in order to start progressing towards my goals? #Changesomething
When answering these questions, did you take full responsibility for yourself and your actions or inactions? If you find yourself excusing lack of progress due to other people, events I couldn’t control etc. are you making excuses for the fact that you didn’t try hard enough? Things do happen – a friend of mine was unexpectedly made redundant this year. Events like this do necessitate major course corrections, so don’t be too hard on yourselves about them. Learn from them, re-baseline your goals and keep moving forward.
Of course, it is not binary – so you may have made progress against some of your goals, but didn’t end up where you thought you would. In this instance, suppose you scored yourself as a 3 on Question 2. The question you probably need to start reflecting upon is, how do I turn the 3 into a 4? Looked at in this way, the question will help you clearly determine what you have to do to get where you want to be.
Before you do this, congratulate yourself on what you have achieved. Most people won’t have made it past the first week in January with their resolutions and you made long term meaningful change this year:
Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go
Goals without action are simply dreams.
It sounds easy doesn’t it? However, if you don’t know what you want to achieve or accomplish in life, any road will do. If you do have aspirations, they will not be realised without action. If you want to make really meaningful change in your life, but don’t know how, why not take the first step and speak to a coach?
Those that take action are the ones who will succeed in the end; this is as true in business as it is in life.
Remember the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise? By the time the Hare realised the Tortoise was too far out in front to catch, it was game over. The Tortoise won the race a step at a time. What steps are you going to take today? Tomorrow? Next year? What will stop you hitting the ground running in 2016? The only way to find out is to try….
Isn’t it time to #Startsomething or #Changesomething? If you need help, give me a call.