Happy New Year!!
So…just a few hours into the new year, how are you feeling about 2023?
Are you unenthused because you’re feeling a mixed bag of emotions about how 2022 went?
Have you hit the ground running, fully energized about all the possibilities of the new year?
Maybe a little bit of both…
Wherever you may be on the emotional spectrum regarding the start of 2023, you’ve likely been bombarded in your inbox, on social media, in conversations with friends and family with messages about the new year and the annual ritual of making resolutions or setting goals.
And by now, you’ve probably heard the stat that, “More than 80% of people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions by mid-February.”
I used to be in the camp of people who made New Year’s resolutions.
I used to also play the semantics game and conflate resolutions with goals. Because after all, aren’t resolutions just goals called by another name?
Well, I am of a different mind today.
Several years ago, I started focusing on goals in lieu of resolutions.
Ever since, it’s something I suggest my private coaching clients do, too. And it’s why I’m on your screen right now with this message: goals over resolutions.
Yes, both words reflect a desire for something to change and perhaps represent a chance for a fresh start or an opportunity to see yourself (or aspects of your circumstances) anew.
To help me make a case for why you’d benefit from adopting the perspective of goals over resolutions, let’s start with their respective definitions.
According to Merriam-Webster, resolution is defined as “the decision to do or not do something.”
Whereas a goal is defined as “the end toward which effort is directed.”
My interpretation of these definitions is that resolutions (a decision) involves a single step, and goals (effort) involves multiple steps.
Embrace the Steps
And, in my opinion those multiple steps can make all the difference in the world.
That’s why I’m sharing the steps I recommend to my private coaching clients and what I practice in my life and business.
You might choose to use all of them or just a few. Either way, my hope is that the flow of the steps will help you make 2023 one of your best years yet:
With that, here’s the first step…
Reflect & Review
Some people want to skip this step of “looking back,” especially if the past year was challenging. But, there’s a great deal of wisdom embedded in making time to take stock of what did and didn’t happen, what did and didn’t work, and being curious as to why.
Here are two questions to help you get started: What was your biggest financial accomplishment last year? What was the biggest financial challenge last year – did you overcome it or are you still handling it?
Taking the time to reflect and review gives you a chance to acknowledge (hopefully without guilt or shame) where you failed, and to celebrate your successes. You might even be able to identify a “success” in what you initially viewed as a failure. (This happened to me during my reflection and review time.)
Another value of this step is that it leads to greater self-awareness and clarity about where you are, how you’ve evolved, and what comes next.
Claim what you want (or need). I recommend you write down all your goals – unfettered by whether it’s a professional or personal goal, a financial or non-financial one, or, even if it is something you want in the short- or long-term.
Begin by doing a brain dump of all of your goals. After this, you need to…
Feed your goals
All goals need something; what do your goals need? For each of the goals you’ve written down, begin to brainstorm what you may need to reach your goals.
For example, do you need to learn a new skill or amplify an existing one? Do you need a resource you don’t have currently? Do you need to do something you’re afraid to do?
As you get curious about what your goals need, be mindful: it’s important not to get stuck in the “how.”
Because if you focus on “how” too soon you may lose momentum before you even have a chance to get started.
Where are you now?
Once you have an idea of what your goals (may) need from you, it’s time to take stock of where you are currently – in relation to that. This helps you to “see” more clearly how wide the gap is between where you are now and where you’re aiming to be and what you’re aiming to do/have.
Know your why
Each of your goals resonate with you for a reason. So, make note of why your goal is important to you. And be sure to be unfiltered here. In other words, give yourself permission to own your why without any self-judgment or concern about external judgment, either.
Know the benefit
What’s the benefit of achieving your goal – to you and potentially for others? (To me, this goes beyond your “why.”)
There are some people who believe if you consider the possibility of failing at something that you’re setting yourself up to fail. I wholeheartedly disagree.
I believe if you think about the what-if’s and acknowledge that failure can happen, you actually put yourself in a position to get ahead of what may derail you.
Anticipating failure helps you to be more proactive rather than reactive.
Befriend your fears
Some might say I have an unusual perspective on fear. If you’re curious, check out my podcast episode #109, where I talked about my relationship with fear and how I believe you and I benefit when we befriend our fears.
Because fear can become yet another “tool” in your kit for putting yourself in a position to be proactive.
What excites you?
Even if your goal is a practical one, there’s gotta be something about it that excites you. Being aware of that is what will help you when the journey toward achieving your goal gets tough.
(finally) Make a plan
When it comes to goals, something I’ve noticed is that a lot of people jump to this step – making a plan – too soon.
Yet, both from observation and first-hand experience, what I’ve discovered is it is only after you’ve taken all the steps I’ve just outlined that you are now ready to create a plan.
And from my perspective, a plan represents a series of steps within a step; steps that invite you to take a look at how you need to change and what you need to do differently.
Who Are You Becoming?
It goes without saying: I am a huge fan of goals. Not simply for the sake of goals.
Goals require, in no particular order:
- Sacrifice (of something)
- Comfort with discomfort & uncertainty
- Willingness to audit your social influences and support systems
That’s why goals are about so much more than the outcome you’re aiming for.
The effort it takes to achieve your goals frequently:
- helps you to become a better version of yourself, i.e., increases your emotional intelligence, discover your strengths, etc.;
- invites you to define (or redefine) risk; (willing, not willing);
- prompts you to question your beliefs and/or perhaps move through limiting beliefs – about yourself and what you deem possible.
Heck, even the most practical goal requires you to make a shift to some degree.
Yes, you can declare goals at any time of the year. But since it’s January, and most of us are embarking on this annual top-of-the-year ritual, I am asking you to adopt this idea of goals over resolutions. Especially as you endeavor to create the 2023 you most want.
Again, Happy New Year!! May 2023 bring us all more joy, abundance, and ease.
p.s. If you have a different approach to goals, I’d love to hear about it. Send me a DM on IG to share.
p.p.s. Speaking of goals, is it time to do/re-do the Financial Wheel exercise? Click here.