Last year for our family resolution, Larry and I decided it would be great fun to write a book during the year. It would be a book that captured all the snippets of deep wisdom he and I share with the kids. (It would be treasured and passed down for generations.) We always say, “You can write that in the quote book” when we have a great thought. Now, we had a quote book! I found the perfect book and placed it in a prominent place. We each grabbed a pen and immediately the well dried up. The only quote that is in the book is my famous quote, “It is better to be late than dead!” What a colossal fail on last year’s great resolution to write a book full of quotes for our posterity!
I have to confess; I am a resolution loser! I have made and not kept more resolutions that I care to admit. I don’t just make resolutions on New Year. I use any opportunity as a “new start.” The first day of the month, the new school year, even Mondays twinkle bright for me as opportunities to “wipe the slate clean” and start over. I love Jon Acuff’s new book, Do Over. That is right up my ally.
The problem is that resolutions depend on my discipline and willpower. We have already addressed in my last blog that I don’t really have disciple. I can resolve to do things all day long, but that doesn’t get the job done. I don’t think I am alone. Only 8% of folks who set resolutions, actually accomplish them each year. EEK! That is a terrible statistic yet comforting all at the same time. I know, I am mental.
When we shift our thinking from setting resolutions to setting goals, we hit pay dirt! Goals are the things we wish and resolve to do….. put down on paper (or digital) and broken into actionable items. I heard Michael Hyatt say that a goal not written down is just a wish. Here are ways to move from resolution loser to goal completer:
- Limit your goals to just a few things. Remember…. most of us were losers last year…. Go slow! LOL
- Write your goals down. (Download my Goal Cheat Sheet here)
- Break your goals into quarters and write out a plan.
- Review your quarterly goal sheet every day before you start your day. It is easy to get caught up in the urgent and forget the important. (Download the Quarterly Goal Cheat Sheet here)
- Reflect at the end of each quarter and do a reset so that you can get back on track or raise your goals if you are ahead.
The absolute biggest game-changer for me was when I connected the WHY with the WHAT in my goals. For example, if I want to eat healthier I HAVE to remind myself why rice cakes should be my choice rather than Doritos at lunch. I would say to myself, I am eating rice cakes because I want to only put healthy food into my body so I can have more energy for my family. On the days I struggle, I remind myself of the emotional WHY behind my decision and I say out loud what I will be choosing if I don’t make the right choice. So in this case, I would say to myself, If I eat those Doritos today I am choosing to feel bad and not be able to spend quality time with the boys. I may even be choosing to shorten my life by not eating healthy.
You may think that is harsh but studies show that people who connect a VERY emotional reason for accomplishing a goal are 79% more likely to succeed. Some studies show an even higher percentage.
So here is an example of a goal sheet for 2016. These are not really my goals but they were good examples. I use way more paper and lots of exclamation points on my goal sheet. As a side note, goals are not optional at my house and everyone knows they have to get up early and have them done or I “help” them set goals! LOL
Step one: I choose one goal for each area of my life. I think four or five goals are as many as I can handle. I break it into Personal, Spiritual, Relational and Vocational. (If you are in school, that’s your vocation right now.)
Step two: Write out the What, Why and a general How.
Step Three: Print out four quarterly sheets and outline each goal in more detail. These are the steps you are going to take each quarter to reach the yearly goal. If you want to lose 12 lbs this year, the quarterly goal is 3 lbs. Get it?
If you wait until the end of the year to check on your progress, you will just have some great resolutions and no accomplished goals. It takes organization and purpose to accomplish the things you want to do this year. Don’t take your life lightly. Why be average? Does your family deserve an “average you?” Does God deserve us drifting along without a purpose? He tells us in Jeremiah that he has plans for our future and wants us to seek him with all our heart. Sounds like a worthy goal to me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.