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New Year, New Goals!

New Year’s Resolutions; A Renewed Chance to Set Goals and Get It Right in 2016

Every year after the holidays, coworkers, family and friends ask: "What are your New Year's resolutions? What are you going to accomplish this year?" We tend to focus on the "What", but not the "How." We set ourselves up for failure when we are more concerned with creating a lofty goal than on the specifics of how we are going to accomplish that goal, or whether it is even achievable. Most of us have been down that road before; I know I have.

According to an article from "One in three Americans will resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later."

Getting fit in the upcoming year is a popular New Year's resolution, statistics show that of the people who sign up for gym memberships in January a whopping 70% - 80% of those people have stopped going by the end of the year.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
Some of the more interesting and publicized New Year's resolutions for 2016 can be found on social media, and include people such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Last year he took on the personal challenge of reading two books per month, learning Mandarin and meeting a new person every day. For 2016, Zuckerberg has announced that he will build an artificial intelligence system to run his home and help him with his work.

Other industry leaders with interesting resolutions for 2016, according to Business Insider's recent interview include Cliff Bar CEO Kevin Cleary: "I'm taking on Ironman Kona", Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy: "I'd like to begin learning Korean so that I can eventually help my 4-year-old Korean adopted son learn it, too", Karen Quintos, CMO at Dell: "In 2016, I want to be a vocal champion of women in business" and John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John's Pizza: "My New Year's resolution is to get back in shape"...surely a daunting task when you run a popular fast food chain.

Figuring out the specifics of what we want the most for the upcoming year and how we plan to achieve that can be difficult. The Smart Goals Guide outlines a step-by-step process of how "to take an overall 'helicopter view' of your life, define goals and determine which ones are the most important." It highlights the top nine busiest areas in most people's lives, and explains how to assess and rank our most essential personal goals.

With this in mind, I decided to make some resolutions for 2016. But this time I'm being a bit more selective about my personal goals, and I'm more focused on the means to achieving them. So rather than stating "In 2016 I am going to lose 10 pounds," I find it more achievable to simply say "In 2016 I'm going to focus more on my health and try to be kinder to myself." There are many ways of achieving this goal of being healthier and living better, which could include:
  • Getting more exercise
  • Eating better
  • Meditating
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Getting more sleep

...or simply trying to have a little more "me time." Having clarity around the concept of what you want to accomplish (and how) makes the overall goal a little less daunting and sets you up for success.

In the end, New Year's Resolutions are all about making changes for the better, rather than a race to accomplish a goal in any given year. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, "Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."
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