Updated: Feb 28, 2021
Well, here we are in March of 2021... how did this happen?!
This year, I decided to get back in the goal setting game, which is something that I fight against, honestly. Like most people, I set up my lofty intentions, create my resolutions and start the New Year gung-ho and ready to go. I would declare my intentions to all who would listen, and I tracked everything, down to the last, gratifying mark on my daily To-Do List. The problem was, by March, I was burnt out and falling back into my old habits, resolute in my disgust for resolutions. My thoughts were, it’s just a resolution. Sound familiar? Yeah, I know. March hits and over 80% of us have ditched our plans. It's a thing. A REAL THING. Yep... welcome to the Average People's Club.
So, here we are at the beginning of March and I'm going at things a little differently. I’ve decided to make small changes that will make me happier. I’ve come to realize, as the years are moving faster, that it’s not just a new year's resolution, it’s my life… my story… my legacy. This year, and every year, deserves the best that I can offer. We’re all writing our stories and the last thing we want is to get to the end of our lives and wonder, “What just happened?” So, this year, I’m going in a simplistic, but meaningful, direction.
Very simply, “What will make me happier?”
Yep, that’s really IT.
I started with reflection on the past year. (First off, good riddance, 2020. High-five me.)
It seems that I always have tiny regrets that pop up and they tend to be things that I wish I had made time for. So, this year is about more than just setting business goals; this year is about setting goals that are fun, fulfilling and generate happiness, all around.
I started my reflection with some questions about the past year:
-What am I proud of achieving in 2020?
-What did I enjoy most about 2020?
-What do I want to expand on from 2020?
-What did I not make time for in 2020?
-What do I wish I did more of in 2020?
-Where did I fall short in 2020?
-What do I regret from 2020?
While I didn’t want to get stuck in the negativity of where I fell short, I thought it was important to be able to honestly assess what I didn’t do so that I could Correct, Expand On, or Dump, in order to make positive changes that made sense. Mostly, I wanted a clear and honest assessment of what truly matters most.
Next, I decided to envision what I’d be thinking, feeling and experiencing at the end of 2021.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying, “I’m glad that 2020 is over” and, honestly, it just doesn’t feel good. I want to feel invigorated, accomplished, excited, and proud of the year that I am leaving, even though it was the weirdest and worst on record. Like, ever. In the whole, huge history of evers.
We’ve all heard the question, “What would you tell your 16 year old self?” and I decided that I needed to use that same magic on myself. My thought was, what would the 2020 Me tell the 2021 Me? So, using a little creative time-machine-jedi-mindtrick thinking, I decided some more questions were in order, regarding where I had been, in order to shape where I want to be at the end of 2021:
-What am I bursting with pride over from 2020 and ready to continue?
-What did I surprise myself with in 2020 and what can I do with that in 2021?
-How did I move myself in a positive direction in 2020 and how can I up level that?
-How did I impact those around me in 2020 and how can I continue in 2021?
-How did I make life better for others in 2020 and how can I keep that up in 2021?
-What did I teach others in 2020 and what do I have left to teach?
-How were my relationships better in 2020 and how can I continue to improve them?
-What one thing will define the year 2021 if I implement these things?
Using this framework, I was able to reflect on my victories and start to build upon what worked. Now, I shift to what I can build on and how that will propel me. It helped me clarify where I want to end up by building on momentum that already exists. It identified what continued marks I want to make on my career, my family, my relationships, and my community.
Very simply, it helped me feel proud.
Having a personal connection, a belief, a feeling, and a glimpse into what you have achieved is magical. Belief and emotional commitment are what carries us, when the going gets tough. And, it will get tough. It always does, and that’s okay.
So, here is where the planning begins.
Write down your goals. Seriously, WRITE THEM DOWN. Those goals floating around in your head will not make it anywhere just hanging out. Put them on paper. Be accountable. Be directive. Be clear.
Make an action plan. How will you accomplish these goals? What could derail you from working on them? Figure out what your steps are. Block off the time on your calendar, set up reminders for yourself, ask for the help you need from others. Get an accountability coach. Use a goal setting calendar. All of this takes time, but your attention to your plan and methodology will keep you accountable.
Check in with yourself. As I mentioned, life gets tough and sometimes we need to correct and, even, redirect. No harm, no foul. If you need a little motivation, review your time- machine-jedi-mindtrick answers and get juiced, up again. This is the story of your life that you’re writing and this should be fun, fulfilling and enjoyable. The cool thing is, all of this is up to you and you get to be in control of how your story will end.
Onward and upward, I say—here’s to the happiest year of your life!