I have never understood the human fascination with setting outrageously sexy New Year’s resolutions.

We have been doing it for over 4,000 years—and we have been failing at it for 4,000 years. It was all the damn Babylonians’ fault. They made promises to get out of debt to earn favor from their gods (sound a bit familiar?) and humankind has been setting, and quitting, new year’s resolutions ever since.

We always jump for the most dazzling, awe-inspiring goals. Such as: get out of debt, travel to Bora Bora, and fit into my size 2 high school skinny jeans. These could be worthwhile goals, however—if you have $150,000 in student loans, hate flying, and are a grown woman—they aren’t realistic.

So, why do we keep choosing these same resolutions year after year? Because they are outrageously sexy and easy to imagine. It’s effortless to daydream and imagine a model on a sandy beach. So, that’s what we base our resolutions on—the life we sometimes wish we had. But what if we based our resolutions a little closer to home? I bet we’d get a little further.

Goal-setting is much too important to keep failing at year after year. So, I say enough! Enough of the craziness. Let’s rethink and rework this business and actually get something accomplished this year. Instead of grounding our resolutions off wishes, let’s do something a little more realistic.

1. Print this: 2016 Resolutions Printable

2. Define the roles you play every day.

  • In the left column, write down all of the roles you play. We all wear many hats and have different roles or tasks to perform each day. For example: you are a human being, a husband or wife, a professional in your field, a gardener, or a chef. These are all roles that define a piece of your core personality.
  • If you have seen the Pixar movie “Inside Out,” think about the Islands of Personality represented in Riley’s mind. Each island represented different aspects of her personality, things that truly defined her as a person.
  • What are your Islands of Personality? What are the roles that you play each day?

3. Define the activities connected with each role.

  • In the right-hand column, write down all of the activities that you could/should/do perform in each of your roles.
  • For example, if you are an avid gardener—you plan your garden, you buy seeds, you weed, water, and prune.
  • Focus on the activities that are absolutely essential or fundamental to the success of that role.
  • Most of these things you do every day like a rockstar, and others need a little bit of work. That’s good! Recognize both your strengths and weaknesses with each role or hat that you wear.
  • If you find yourself getting stuck, think about what you look like when you are in that role. For example, when I’m at work as a Research Administrator: I am wearing slacks with high heels, and I’m reviewing a grant proposal or teaching someone a new trick. So, associated activities may be reviewing or teaching.

4. Choose the top 5 roles to improve this year.

  • Now it’s time to take a long hard look at your list and put a star next to the top five areas that you want to work on the most.
  • What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Start with these priorities.
  • What are the roles you need to work on? Take a look at the activities associated with those roles and decide which activities are often neglected or ignored.

5. Choose at least 1 activity that promotes each role and finalize your resolutions.

  • Finalize your top 5 roles and your associated activities.
  • Write down at least one measurable activity that promotes each of your top 5 roles.
  • It should be an activity that you need to work on, develop, practice or grow. (Don’t write down the ones that you are already a rockstar at completing. That’s cheating.)
  • Ensure that the activities you have chosen are truly essential to supporting one of your main roles.
  • Include a metric that will help to keep you on-target and celebrate when you reach your goal.

Congratulations, you’ve just written your New Year’s Resolutions! You can begin the New Year with a little more confidence because you’ve taken into account your lifestyle, your personality, and your long-term goals.

Post your list up somewhere you can see it daily to ensure that you’re staying on-track. If you need to check-in with yourself in July, do steps 1-3 again and ensure that your stars are aligned—if not, it’s time to stop and re-evaluate your resolutions.

Here is an example of a completed 2016 Resolution worksheet to help get the inspiration flowing:

Zink 2016 Resolutions

And here is the empty example sheet:

2016 Resolutions Printable

 

Leave a comment and tell me about your New Year’s Resolutions!