Each year people set resolutions for the New Year ahead. For most folks, by the time February or March roll around, those resolutions are long forgotten and won’t be thought of until they are set yet again the following January. The secret to making a resolution stick is not simply will-power. The secret lies in the three simple keys that make it easy for resolutions to be kept.
Before sitting down to create a list of goals or resolutions, it is essential to get to the right starting place. The proper starting place for goal setting is actually to begin with your vision for your life. Take a moment to image that your life is ideal. What does that look like for you? What do your circumstances look like? How do you spend your time? Who do you spend your time with?
It is easy to set goals, but one of the secrets for achievement is to make sure that those goals lead you closer to the life that you want to create. When the goals that you set are in harmony with your vision for your life, it is much easier to maintain high levels of motivation.
This simple but powerful exercise is one that I learned from my mentor Fabienne Fredrickson and it takes its name from a movie by the same name staring Bill Murray. The goal of the exercise in this context is to review the previous year with certain questions in mind.
- What worked?
- What could be improved?
- What didn’t work?
The idea here is that reviewing the previous year with these questions in mind will inform your choice of resolutions going forward. When you reflect on what went well – those are the things that you want to make sure that you keep doing. It is actually incredibly easy to accidentally unplug from what is working, so reflecting on what went well will help you avoid that.
Reviewing what could be improved is not about chasing little tiny improvements, it is about identifying things that with a little tweak could be greatly improved or will provide much better results. Identifying what didn’t work is essential to putting a halt on things that you don’t want to become patterns or themes in your life or your business.
Staying motivated and on-track toward your resolutions begins with putting the right systems in place. You need systems in place that will help you stay mindful of those goals. This may involve note cards strategically placed at your home or office. You need to put systems in place to help you remember those goals at the appropriate time so that the choices you make each day bring you closer to achievement.
Accountability is also essential to motivation. What systems do you need to put in place to stay accountable? This may take the form of an accountability partner, or a regularly scheduled meeting to ensure that things are progressing as they should.
Work the System
I’ve found that once I’m clear on the future that I want to create, setting the right goals – the ones that will bring me toward the life I want to create – is much simpler. The Groundhog Day exercise is a great way to identify what you want to keep and what you want to change. Putting the right systems in place is the most powerful thing that you can do to ensure the successful accomplishment of your resolution. I find that for me, setting aside time each month to go off-site with my wife Cathrine to review progress and strategize, has been absolutely invaluable in accelerating growth. What systems work for you?