"When eating an elephant take one bite at a time" - Creighton Abrams
At the turn of a new year, it’s natural for us to think about what we’ve achieved in the past year… and what we didn’t… and what we’d like to achieve in the year ahead.
If we didn’t get as far as we intended to, that conversation can sometimes leave us feeling disappointed or overwhelmed. No wonder more than half of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions before June rolls around, and less than 10% of us see our resolutions through to the end of the year. Given those odds, it’s also not surprising that 38% of us resolve never to make a resolution!
I prefer to think of annual goals as “evolutions” instead of “resolutions," and I've created a three-step process for getting, and staying, on track.
Take An Inventory
Step 1: If you want to get somewhere new, it's a good idea to start by taking a realistic look at where you are right now. The Path of Life Inventory© is a quick and easy self-assessment that helps focus your energy on the areas of life that have the most impact on your personal happiness.
Take a look at Image 1, which lists eight major areas of life: Fun & Recreation, Career, Relationships & Romance, Home & Living Space, Spirituality & Personal Growth, Money & Finances, Friends & Family and Health. (Use a piece of paper and list these areas, and any others you like, at the top of your page). Rate each of these on your current level of satisfaction from zero, being the least satisfied, to 10, being completely satisfied. Put an X next to the number rating underneath each header.
Next, connect the X’s with a line – below in Image 2. Think about it - if this line were a REAL path, how bumpy would your journey of life be?
Fine Tune Your Focus
Step 2: Decide which of the eight major areas to work on this year. Please don’t overwhelm yourself by choosing all of them – that’s a big pitfall that will pull the rug out from your best intentions! It’s not important to have every area of our lives at a 10 – that’s just not realistic. But, we can shift our satisfaction levels from a 3 to a 4, for example - or even a 6 to an 8.
I recommend picking only one or two major areas to focus on for the year. In fact, two may be too many! Consider that you'll likely be able to achieve more with strategic, single-minded focus in one area, than spreading your energy too thin or getting sidetracked by many goals. Plus, you can always add another one later in the year, if you like. (I'll explain more about this in next month's blog.)
The goal is to bring your satisfaction level up ONE number this year. If that doesn’t sound like much, think about how many years your satisfaction level has been at the same number – or maybe even lower? if you can move your satisfaction level up one number this year – that’s an achievement to be proud of! If you bring it up more than that – congratulations!!
Step 3: Brainstorm on all the possible ways to achieve your major goal. Give this some thought and don’t stress out about it – just have fun exploring options and ideas, and write it all down.
Next month, I’ll show you how to create an effective Actions list from your brainstorming sessions that actually supports you in achieving your goals, short-circuits overwhelm, and helps you keep evolving towards success.
Until next time – stay inspired!