How are those resolutions coming along so far? It seems to happen this way every year: you make a list of things you're giving up (nail biting, swearing, junk food), you swear things are going to be different, you stay on track till about, oh mid-February (if you're lucky) and then you're back to square one.
Resolutions can be extremely daunting. The failure to keep them can often end up in more self-loathing and frustration than before you made the resolution (Shoot, I ate a cupcake. Oh well, I may as well eat six…) Why do we do this to ourselves every year?
This feeling is exactly why last year, I threw resolutions out the window and started focusing on goals- and yes, the two are very different. Resolutions often include words like "stop," "give-up," "never," and leave more room for failure: "I want to stop eating junk food," or "I never want to gossip." Goals, however, are the result or achievement of what you have directed effort toward.
If you're a friend of mine, you've heard me say a million times how important it is to write your goals down. I started with a list of 50 (ranging from 1 to 10 year goals). It's ever-changing as I constantly cross things off and add new things to it. It focuses on what I can achieve, instead of what I never want to do again. Because guess what? I'm human. I'm going to eat a giant, calorie-packed burrito from Chipotle once in a while. Excuse me while I enjoy my life….
But I'm also going to do some other things too. In fact, when I stopped telling myself what I couldn't do last New Year's, I started doing some pretty cool stuff:
Run a 1/2 marathon: (Not 1, but 2!)
Find a job that I'm passionate about:
See U2 in concert:
Take more pictures: Almost 700! (Thanks, iPhone.)
So let's shift the focus from what we don't want to do anymore, and fixate to what we do want. Here are some tech-savvy ways to snowball your efforts:
On the web:
One of my favorite approaches to setting goals, comes from the company values of Lululemon Athletica. Not only do they require employees to attend goal workshops in training and set personal goals for themselves, but they offer goal setting workshops in the community, and make information available on their website. Check it out for some profound advice.
If only we had a coach like in the movies that would feed us inspirational speeches whenever we need a lift. Luckily, we have TED, which is the next best thing. Want to be more eco friendly? Overcome debt? Grow your business? TED offers riveting videos of speakers that touch on just about every topic under the sun. I find myself on this site whenever I want to be inspired. Watch this video for example, and see if you're not completely moved.
On your mobile device:
Mobile apps such as TraxItAll and Goal Setting workshop help guide you through a process of brainstorming, narrowing a list of specific goals, and building the motivation to accomplish them. They offer a list format that lets you track when you do or don't accomplish something so you can monitor your progress. Both are friendly little reminders to stay on track and encouraged.
Want to pinch a penny or plan for retirement? Using budget apps like Mint and Pear Budget allow you to see where your money goes. (I am guilty of previously spending more eating out than I did on rent- yikes!) Keep your spending in check, and you're one step closer to financial responsibility.
What did I eat today? I'm the queen of grazing. A handful of crackers here, a cube (or 12) of cheese there, and without my knowledge, I've surpassed my suggested caloric intake before noon. Okay, I'm being dramatic, but I could definitely stand to be a little more conscious of what I'm eating. Apps like SparkPeople and Food Diary make it easy to know what you're putting in your tummy by logging calories for you.
Of course it's great to want to better yourself. I don't protest that the concept of resolutions and improvement is wrong. I simply encourage directing that focus to what you want to achieve (a goal), and not naming everything that you don't want.
What are some things you hope to achieve in 2012?Share Article