Jan 2, 2014

Measuring New Year’s Resolutions

The start of the year brings renewed optimism for goals, priorities and what lies ahead. January 1st brings out the New Year’s Resolutions.

Before you start plotting out your priorities for the upcoming year, take a moment and look backwards.

January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is portrayed as a man with two faces. One that looks forward to the future, and one that looks backward to the past.

I like the thought of Janus, because we should measure our success by looking at our past.

Last year’s milestones

When you look back at last year, what were your milestones?

The proper use of the word “milestone” is a numbered marker placed along a road or boundary. They are used to reassure travelers they’re on the right path, or to indicate how far they have travelled.

In life, a milestone is a reference point.

Personal milestones can be both positive and negative. They can be a major accomplishment like having a child, running a marathon or acquiring a major customer. They can also be painful or traumatic like a death in the family or losing your job.

What were the milestones last year that demonstrate how far you’ve come? What did you achieve? What are you proud of? How far have you progressed compared to where you were three years ago?

Take stock of today

Take stock of who you are and where you are right now. Looking at last year will give you a sense of how far you have travelled, but don’t forget to consider today.

How are you positioned for tomorrow?

Ambitious people always want more. We can lose sight of where we are right now if we’re always fixated on the future. Your goals and plans are like looking out at the horizon. They’re there, they’re motivating, but they’re always just out reach. And that’s what makes them powerful.

Take a moment to be thankful for what what you have and what you’ve already accomplished before you get wrapped up in all that you have to achieve this year.

Define success

You won’t be able to measure the success of your New Year’s Resolutions without knowing the destination.

Too many New Year’s Resolutions are too big and unsustainable. They start out with the best intentions, but fizzle when they appear unattainable.

Define your Resolutions with purpose. Use the SMART methodology for setting your Resolution:

Specific: Define exactly what you want to achieve
Measurable: Set the metrics to track progress (consider the milestones)
Assignable: Specify who will help you along the way
Realistic: It better be achievable knowing yourself and your resources
Time related: When will you achieve your Resolution by?

Choose where you will invest your time and resources this year, and make a few purposeful decisions. When you have a sense of how far you’ve already come you can set the bar even higher this year.

Happy New Year. I wish you many successes as you work towards your goals.

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