You may be surprised to hear that but it’s true. New Years Resolutions are a waste of time. If you don’t believe me just think how many people you know who have a New Years Resolution to give up this or start doing that, and then of course do no such thing. If you attend a gym regularly you’ll notice that the car park gets full up in the first few weeks of January. But by the middle of the month it’s getting back to normal. All the time-wasters have given up. They’ve probably started smoking, drinking too much coffee and eating too many pies again as well.
The truth is that, as Zig Ziglar points out, New Years Resolutions are nothing more relevant than New Years Confessions. ‘I confess I’ve got to give up smoking’, ‘I confess I’ve got to lose some weight’. Now confession is a great start. It’s the first thing you should do when setting a goal. But don’t end it there! People just don’t seem t o be able to grasp the basics of goal setting. I even saw a woman on television saying her New Years Resolution was to win the lottery. How did she figure that one out? This is all a mess. We’re going to do something about it right now.
I want to make it really simple. Get a pen and paper out and do this exercise right now: write down a list of all the things you did in 2008 that were great. All the things you were really pleased with. Don’t stop writing until you’ve got at least fifteen. Anything you were proud you did. Small things, big things. Work things, family things, pleasurable things. Get your diary out or anything else out that can remind you. This is your ‘Glory List’ for last year.
Now look at the things you’ve got on there. Some might be holidays you’ve had, achievements at work, skills you’ve learnt or whatever. Get another piece of paper. Write at the top, ‘Glory List 2009’. Go through your 2008 list and write down two things for every one thing you wrote down for 2008 that are just a little bit better or are the next stage for whatever the achievement was last year. Do it fast. Don’t let your conscious mind edit it. So if you put ‘One week holiday in France’ for last year put ‘Two weeks holiday in the Caribbean’ for this year as well as something else – or whatever’s right for you.
Now you should have a list for 2009 with thirty things on it. This is your Glory List for 2009 that you will be writing down on January 1st 2010, listing all the great things you’ve done in 2009. The only difference is that you know in advance what they will be, you’ve already done it! That is what goal setting really is. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve by when, writing it down and getting on with it as if it’s bound to happen.
You see, things will happen in 2009 anyway, whether you set goals or not. That’s what happened in 2008 and all the years that preceded it. The simple act of writing down what you actually want to happen means it’s so much more likely to actually happen. Don’t let me find out that you haven’t done this simple exercise. Stop reading now and do it!