Are you a New Years Resolution setter? What kind of goals are you looking to accomplish in 2012?
I took some time on December 31st to actually sit down and write out some resolutions for the coming year. It turned out to be quite a project. I started with the usual goals of working out more and spending more focused time with my girls, but it ended up growing into quite a list. I won’t go into strict detail, but I ended up setting 30 resolutions in 6 different categories. The categories are basic, “physical,” “family,” “vocational,” “personal/spiritual,” etc. And yes, I did make two resolutions in a category titled “golf.”
I’ve been setting New Year’s Resolutions for years. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about the process.
2) Think whole
4) Plan “baby steps”
I start out by taking time to reflect and pray through the process. We all want to grow, transform, and be better this year. But if we rush to establish numerous big-picture goals, we can find ourselves at the foot of a giant mountain with no equipment or climbing experience (and it may be the wrong mountain anyway). Slow down, take some time to reflect and pray, see what God may be leading you to in 2012.
2) Think whole
There are a number of areas in each one of our lives that need attention. Instead of setting 17 physical goals in 2012, think about every area of your life. I broke mine down into six categories; you may have four or nine. Try to think spiritual, physical, relational (family), vocational, financial, and even “miscellaneous.”
3) Quantify (BIG STEP)
I try to make my resolutions as quantifiable as possible. I’ve learned that setting nebulous goals like “be a nicer person” are impossible to track. When you’re tracking your progress, how do know in February or September if you’ve kept your New Year’s Resolution to “smile more?” Will your face muscles be more toned? I don’t think you necessarily have to apply an exact number to every single resolution, but you should have a way to track them. Some will naturally have a set number applied to them, while the goal of others will be a specific outcome.
For example, I’ve resolved to read 52 books in 2012. That’s an on-going resolution I’ve had for the last six years. There is a set number to it, and I track every book I read in Excel (the resolver’s best friend), and at the end of the year I’ll see where I land compared to my goal. There were a couple of other resolutions I made that don’t have a specific number to them, but they are definitely quantifiable. They have to do with my girls. I resolved to teach my 4-year old, Olivia, to read in 2012. And I resolved to teach her younger sister, 2-year old Sophia, potty-training. There’s not a specific number applied to these two resolutions, but throughout the year I’ll be able to track their progress.
4) Plan baby steps
When we get a fresh start there is a danger in trying to conquer the world by Tuesday. The Resolution Breaker’s best friend is Mount Everest. If you’ve found yourself breaking all your resolutions by Valentines Day, it could be the result of unrealistic expectations. Set big goals, but set little goals that you can accomplish weekly and monthly that will accumulate to conquer the big ones by the end of the year. I’ve set up a tracking process for all 30 of my resolutions, and I’ll be updating that process twice a month. While we all want to lose 40 pounds, it starts with 1 pound.
Here are some suggestions for areas to make 2012 resolutions.