Author Topic: Will you "Miss the Mark" again this year? Lessons from a review of goal setting  (Read 1255 times)

infromsea

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Will your new year’s resolutions fail (again) in 2017?

This time of year, new year’s resolutions (goals, whatever we want to call them) are probably being considered by many, I’m no different.
 
It almost never fails, the in-laws come to visit and “make themselves comfortable” in the living room, watching TV for days (I have no idea how anyone can consume THAT many episodes of law and order….) and I head to other rooms to really think about what I want out of the coming year.

Funny thing though, as with every year, I review the previous years “resolutions” and reflect on accomplishments, weaknesses etc. A couple of things became very clear to me during this year’s review and I wanted to share them to see if others have had similar thoughts or maybe give someone a little extra motivation.

1.   To begin, really think about your process and “think about thinking”. Humans are amazing, we can think about the fact that we can think. In my mind, taking the time to do this (what categories do I want to use, what is important to me and why, that sort of thing) can really improve the quality of the resolutions for the year and might increase adherence.

2.   Pick the appropriate time to come up with your list. My wife and I often create a family list for the year (as a family: eat more veggies, watch less TV) while on a short vacation. We are relaxed, sometimes tipsy, often in a state of mind TOTALLY different from day to day living. Then, we return to reality and get frustrated when we add demands from work, family, pets, you name it, and don’t adhere to the plan. Bottom line, maybe make your list on a week night after a full day of work, that way you are more honest with your energy levels and the true level of free time you’ll have on your hands.

3.   This one is funny. This year, our list of “to do around the house” included “replace coffee table and end tables”. After doing my review, I noticed we had the same item on a previous list…. from 2009….. Lesson learned, annotate what is a goal/resolution and what is a “maybe” or a “if we get time” or maybe use a prioritization matrix. We often list things, then get too busy OR talk ourselves out of the decision (usually after we start shopping and consider the actual cost of replacing something that is functioning just fine, and we both HATE shopping). If we listed that item on a “if we get a chance” section, there would be no guilt if we changed our minds later. Not that the level of guilt is very high as it is, just that some of us, including me, are completion-ists and an item listed and not completed causes me to analyze.

4.   Your list probably has too many items. Back to item number two, we might make our list at the “wrong time” and we are certain that “future us” is going to have the time/energy/gumption to complete it (how many years have we been wrong about that…) so we really lay on the categories and number of items we want to complete THIS year. My review shows me that, for our house, we often achieved items 1-3, maybe. Anything beyond that, almost never gets done. Lesson learned, keep it simple and remove distractions to ensure greater compliance.

In summary:

In my opinion, goal setting/crafting resolutions is a valuable process that we might improve upon by:
-   Spend some time thinking about your processes before you even begin, get your system down as it may be more important than the resolutions you list
-   Review previous year’s resolutions and results, analyze
-   Come up with your list at a time that closely mimics your day to day life
-   Identify/prioritize your list in some manner, what are the “must accomplish items” and what’s just a “wish”
-   Pare your list down to the essentials, be honest about what you can accomplish in a year and if it’s obvious you might not achieve a goal within 2017 (is that same item on your list four years running? Maybe it’s not important enough or you simply haven’t found the right incentive to ensure success…) then maybe you need to craft a “multi-year” plan so you can still feel good about progress even if you don’t achieve it (again…).

Lastly, I’d suggest REALLY challenging assumptions about life, money, diet, fitness, relationships etc. I’ve made some of my biggest life changes EVER this past year (2016), because I was willing to admit that what I “knew to be true” might not be, that there might be other options out there that might be just as valid.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 09:59:08 AM by infromsea »

Miss Piggy

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Good thoughts to share. Thanks for giving us some things to think about...some best practices, in a way.

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Shoot for the stars, and you will hit the moon.... Which is still a better accomplishment than never trying at all : )

Milizard

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I think that I hate starting on new goals on Jan. 1st.  It just seems like the absolute worst time to start.  You're still recovering from the holidays, and if you're in the North, dealing with the worst weather of the year.  Plus, when you eventually slip up, there's a feeling like this year is ruined, guess I'd better try again next year.  (Part of this has to do with my own OCD tendencies.)

I did start one resolution on the 2nd--just one.  We were traveling on the first.  I do think starting any ol' day of the month is the best.  That way, when you slip up, you can just jump back in without thinking twice about it.  You didn't screw up the whole year or month, so there's no new year/month/week to wait to begin again.

Metric Mouse

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I think that I hate starting on new goals on Jan. 1st.  It just seems like the absolute worst time to start.  You're still recovering from the holidays, and if you're in the North, dealing with the worst weather of the year.  Plus, when you eventually slip up, there's a feeling like this year is ruined, guess I'd better try again next year.  (Part of this has to do with my own OCD tendencies.)

I did start one resolution on the 2nd--just one.  We were traveling on the first.  I do think starting any ol' day of the month is the best.  That way, when you slip up, you can just jump back in without thinking twice about it.  You didn't screw up the whole year or month, so there's no new year/month/week to wait to begin again.

These are good points. Losing momentum can really slow down progress towards a goal.