Tracking New Years' Resolutions as Another Year Gets Closer

My biggest New Year's resolution this year was setting a calendared alert to check my progress several times throughout the year. I wanted to know: Why don't New Year's resolutions work for me? I always seem to put them aside and accomplish other things.

In early January, before an alert sounded, I realized that my resolutions were written in the middle of vacation. "I will definitely have time for all of these things," I must have thought. Realizing how ridiculous that was, I lowered my targets.

In March, I realized that I had too many goals that were based on the development of my weakest talents. In my coaching work, I teach my clients how to spot those goals and be more realistic about them. Even if I accomplished one or two of these goals, that would be amazing. Trying to reach them all was probably going to raise my anxiety through the roof. So I lowered the total goal count.

In May, I reviewed my list and thought about the fact that I have other weekly and monthly goals that aren't New Year's resolutions. I accomplish a lot of those, before even counting the extra resolutions I am working on. So are the resolutions even that important? My interests seem to change and I don't want to guilt-trip myself about something that only seemed important while I was on a winter vacation long ago!

In July, I wondered even more: "Do New Year's resolutions even matter to me?" I started thinking about alternatives.

My new ideas

  • I am thinking about changing my resolutions into I can just do and be done with, and which also align with my core gifts, in order to keep stress levels low. I think it would be appropriate to call these New Year's Activities. For example, taking a half-day during my New Year's vacation and writing as many short blog posts as possible, and then publishing them over the space of a month or two. This happens to align with my gifts and has worked well for me in the past.
  • I'm thinking about renaming my resolutions to New Year's Tweaks, which describe things like attitude changes, different approaches to the same old problems, and possibly more general goals based on personality development. These will probably become more specific, but I'd build in some flexibility to change them as my interests change over the course of a year.
  • I'm also thinking about setting calendar reminders for spaced appointments to review my lists, such as my yearly milestones list (a list you should definitely make), a list of my interests (another list you should definitely make), and a list of favorite books, movies, and other media (same here--try it!).

I'm not sure which of those ideas I'll be using--maybe all of them! But I'm very glad I thought about my resolutions this year, rather than eventually just ignoring the fact that they exist as we near another traditional opportunity to start new goals from scratch.

Topics: Goals