By Brittany Gebben

The New Year seems to be most connected with making resolutions, changes or new goals in one’s life. While I appreciate the encouragement of making positive changes or reaching certain goals throughout the year, I don’t always agree with the tradition of verbalizing the result we hope to attain, as it seems to be lacking a critical piece.

As I think about the things I want to change or accomplish throughout the next year, I try to focus on the things I need to do along the way in order to then achieve this result.

Often, New Year’s resolutions focus on the large-scale, end-result goal and tend to lack focus on the planning that needs to be done in order to accomplish them.   “Result goals” focus on the end-result, whereas “action goals” focus on the plan of action required to achieve said end-result.  It seems as though we’re setting ourselves up for failure with most New Year’s Resolutions by having a large, end-goal in place and no plan of action.

If you wish to make positive changes or reach new goals in the year to come, here are some helpful steps to help you attain them:

  1. Set important life changes or new goals, both short and long term, for the upcoming year whether personal,    professional or both.
  2. Turn them into an “action goal” if they aren’t already by pairing the result you hope to achieve with a plan of action. Map out what needs to be done in order to achieve this result… What needs to be done monthly, weekly, daily? Consider these action goals your new commitment.
  3. Write the action goals down and put them somewhere you’ll see often whether it be your calendar, desk, car, bathroom or elsewhere. Dr. Gail Matthews states, “You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.”
  4. Share your action goals. Find accountability partners. Be sure to choose your accountability partners wisely and have them be people you look up to, especially in the field of your new goal.
  5. Create a personal “check in”. Don’t wait until the end of the year to judge your progress. Write a note on the first day of each month reminding you to evaluate your progress, and possibly, adjust your goal/plan or regain focus the next month.  If you need to adjust your plan, that’s OK!
  6. Last, it’s important to focus on self-care. Whether your goals are personal or professional, if self-care isn’t one of your new goals then be sure to make it a part of your plan of action.

Diving into the last step a little further, if you make your health a priority and also focus on keeping stress at a minimum, you can focus more clearly on your actions.  Stress is distracting.  Try to start your day a little earlier each day to “start it off right” and do something productive (i.e. workout, check something off your to do list, perform a chore) that gives you a sense of accomplishment to kick start your day in a positive way or allow time for yourself (i.e. sit with coffee, read, meditate) to be mindful, de-stress and stay focused.
As we enter a New Year, do you have any resolutions or goals for 2019?  Do they have a “Plan of Action” behind them to map out your journey and keep you on track?  Cheers to the New Year, a New Plan of Action, and investing in the journey rather than the final destination.