How To Set Resolutions that Work

The End of the year is a time when most people do some reflecting, and reasonably so. Even though technically speaking, there is not much difference between the 31st of December and the 1st of January, something about it makes it feels like a fresh start for most.

Majority of Business calendars too, begin with the new year so it’s quite an ideal time for reflecting and planning — although it shouldn’t be the only time.

So how come most of us never follow through with our new year resolutions? Admit it — you make all sorts of plans and declarations at the beginning of every year that are quickly forgotten for a lack of proper follow up or strategy. It’s very easy to fall back into old patterns after all the excitement is over. And like we said, there’s no major difference between 31st Dec & 1 Jan.

But this doesn’t mean you should completely cancel setting resolutions either.

Do You want to Ensure you never set another useless new years resolution again? I’ll be sharing a very practical template to help you with that, but first, Here are some Top new years resolution mistakes to avoid (from my observations):

  1. Setting unrealistic goals: “Obtain the body of a goddess” is not a real goal and you know it. Try rephrasing to something like, “lose 50kg by August” for instance. We all know about setting SMART goals.
how to set resolutions that work

2. No action plan: OK. It’s fair enough that you’ve set a smart goal. But how are you going to get there? A goal without a plan is wishful thinking. Break down your goal to lose 50kg into actionable steps like: joining a hiking group, taking 500 steps everyday or hitting the gym on weekends.

3. ‘Set it and forget it’: After a certain point, a lot of us forget about our resolutions until the end of the years. This is because there is no sense of accountability. To fix this, you should set up a system that enables you review your goals often and track the progress you’re making. This will help you to find out on time if you’re veering off course.

Is this sounding like a lot of jargon to you? Don’t worry — I have a simple method to ensure that you don’t make these mistakes again in 2019. Perhaps we can try it together. For 2019, I’ve decided to use the OKR method we use at FlexiSAF to set & align our work objectives. It’s a method used by a lot of tech companies like Google and Uber. This time, I’ll be creating a simple OKR template for my personal 2019 goals and sharing with those who are interested in joining me.

P.S- Update: I’ve also included a Personal Budgeting Template I got from Vertex42 for those (like me) whose goals include managing your finances better next year.

This method will help to make sure that every thing you do in 2019 is aligned with your goals and interests, so you don’t get sidelined or carried away during the course of the year. I believe will-power is overrated; what works for me is setting structures in place that help me stay on track easily.

(P.S Before using my template, I just want to point out that there’s more to the year’s end than setting goals for the new year. Here are some other things you should probably do too)

  1. Take some time Reflect on your previous year. What have you learnt? Not to sound cliche, but no matter how bad your year went, there’s always a lesson you can take away from it.

2. Be thankful no matter what. Yes, I know how hard that is, but at least you aren’t in the same place you were last year. That in itself is blessing.

3. Review your life plans in general. Don’t have any? Tsk..what are you doing fam? Ideally you should have a 2 year plan, a 5 year plan and a 10 year plan. You can use a vision board to create these — it doesn’t have to be detailed. Having an idea of this is important because it helps you tie in the yearly plans you’re about to make into a bigger picture and have something to measure against.

Okay. So, Assuming we’ve done all of the above, let’s move on to the main agenda of the day.

My New Year Goals Template

My template consists of 5 main objectives. These objectives revolve around improving key areas of my life I feel are most important at the moment:

  • spiritual, mental & physical health
  • finances
  • career & skills
  • relationships
  • hobbies and interests

Under these objectives, I have listed out certain key results that I think will help me fulfill my objectives.

How to use it:

Click here to access the template. Then select File > Make a copy. Once you have your copy of the OKR template, you can now Edit the objectives and key results as necessary. The formulas are already input to show you progress on each objective.

You may choose to separate your year into quarters and use a separate sets of OKR for each quarter. Either way, dedicate a time to review your OKRs weekly or monthly and update the progress accordingly.

It helps if you have an OKR buddy — a friend to be accountable to for your OKRs and vice versa. At every review period, you should be able to strategically assess your progress and see how you’re doing.

Tip: It’s recommended to set a maximum of 5 objectives and 3–6 key results per objective. Don’t overwhelm yourself!! (I’ll also advice you save it directly to your Google drive and not your device, so you can always access it from wherever you are by visiting docs.google.com)

Have fun! And don’t forget to tell me how it’s going or ask me any questions you want. Feel free to Tweet at me or comment here! I can’t wait to hear from you.

Originally posted on Medium