I’ve seen lots of social media posts already this month about New Year’s resolutions or goals. Have you made one? And more importantly, do you know how to turn those resolutions into action? It’s not enough to proclaim this big goal to the world at the beginning of the year. You need an action plan to make your goals successful.
And I’ll be honest, many of the resolutions or goals I’m seeing are a generic “be a better version of me”. While this is a commendable goal to always strive for, simply saying you want to be a better you is not sufficient.
Now, before you click away in anger, here me out a sec. What does “a better version” actually mean? What does “better” look like? How are you going to turn this resolution into action?
Success Has to be Measured
It’s not enough to simply say you want “to be a better version of you”. You have to know what that better version actually looks like; what that entails. You need action steps so you can, in the end, measure your success in your goal or resolution.
Think about it this way…would you ever purchase a home without seeing it or even knowing anything about it? The only detail you have about this new home is it’s “better than” what you have. What does that even mean? How is this new home going to be “better”?
Perhaps, what you desire in a new home is a larger kitchen so you and your family can begin to cook together. Or, maybe, you have four people sharing one very small bathroom and you desperately need a second bathroom to make morning time run smoother to get out the door on time. Your current home is in good condition, though, a tad outdated. You don’t mind that the spaces are outdated, you just need additional space…more room to function better as a family.
However, what you don’t know is the new home is “better” because it is newly updated. No extra room in the kitchen. It does have new counters and a new stove. But the space is still the same, with no extra room to move around or bring in a stool for the littlest kiddo. Does this new home allow you to bake more with your children? Of course not. Because it’s not fulfilling the one requirement you have in the kitchen of space. The new home is also “better” because the bathroom has recently been updated as well. Still one very small bathroom, but it has new light fixtures, new floors, and a new tub. Does this help you with the family’s morning routine? Absolutely not! You will still have to navigate a tight time schedule to get yourself, hubs, and kiddos all ready and out the door at the same time.
This new and “better than” what you have home is not better in the areas that you truly need or desire. Therefore, buying this home doesn’t make much sense, does it? The same logic applies to your resolutions. You can’t be better or do better without knowing what better is.
Start Big and Narrow it Down
Now that we understand why it’s important to have a measurable new year’s resolution or goal, let’s discuss how to refine that big lofty goal into tangible actionable items. With this goal of being better in mind, write down what you feel would make you better. What areas of your life need improvement? Maybe a better you means focusing on your health. What areas of health need improvement? Less stress? Loose weight? Become stronger? What changes can you set in motion to make your health better by the end of the year?
No matter if your resolution it’s health-related, business-minded, or simply for fun (like reading 30 books in a year) start big and narrow it down into smaller chunks. Your yearly resolution should have monthly goals and weekly goals. And in most instances, daily goals as well. Remember start big and narrow it all the way down.
Write it Down
You have the areas of your life you want to improve and you know specifically what “better” in that area means to you. The next step in turning resolutions into action is finally the action part. Grab your favorite pen and notebook (or phone app if that’s more your speed) and write it all down.
Start with your main resolution and divide it into the sections you decided on. Each section should have at least three check-off items. These are the action steps that are needed to accomplish this area of your goal; monthly, weekly, and daily. You can narrow in as much as you feel is beneficial to you. You may be a hardcore list maker, like myself, and thoroughly enjoy making a checklist. The more detailed the better.
Adversely, the mere thought of a checklist may send you spiraling. Thinking about all the things is overwhelming and not manageable. Here’s where it’s important to remember the need to have a measurable goal. To find success we have to measure the beginning against the end. And these checklists are our units of measure. All that said, three checklist items are a good jumping-off point. You can easily fit three things into your day or week to work towards the goal. And even the most basic area goal of eating better can be broken down into 3 steps of 1.) consume more veggies, 2.) drink more water, and 3.) establish regular meal times. Three checkpoints per goal area….got it? Easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
Check it Off
You’ve turned your resolution into smaller goals and those goals into even smaller actionable items. Now check it off! It is not enough to simply make the list. You must now work on the goals and check each step off your list. I promise, it feels amazing to check something off a list. (I’m a perpetual list maker and checker-offer.) Plus, you can visibly see your resolution coming to fruition. Each goal area’s checklist getter smaller and smaller each month.
If you have properly broken down your resolution, you should be able to re-evaluate your goal areas monthly. This is step is just as important as the previous steps. Just because we make a resolution or goal doesn’t mean it will work out as perfectly as we planned….because LIFE. Yep, life happens and even the best-laid plans will not work out because our lives take a turn one way or the other. That’s okay! This doesn’t mean our resolution isn’t going to be successful. It simply means we need to re-evaluate our action items and the steps we are taking to meet each goal we set out for ourselves.
Having to re-evaluate is not failure, it actually shows growth. It shows your commitment to your goals. And it shows that despite setbacks, you can find additional ways to reach success. But whether at the end of the year you completed your action items and accomplished your resolution or not, remember that even setting goals and attempting to work on them is commendable. The fact you even tried means you made a dent in that goal of being “a better version” of yourself. So congratulations!
Let me know what goals or resolutions are you working towards this year?