Happy New Year! It’s 2020, folks! Yes, I know…I’ve just stated the obvious.

But, simply because the clock didn’t do anything unusual (the clock strikes midnight every night), the turn from 2019 to 2020 does feel a bit different.  

To me, it doesn’t feel as palatable as the energy of the turn from 1999 to 2000. However, there is something in the air. And, I don’t think it’s solely related to the presidential election or increasing worries about the health of the economy and the stock market.

I think it has something to do with a shift in how people are approaching their goals and resolutions.  

For as many people as there are who poo-poo setting goals and declaring resolutions at this time of the year, there are probably an equal number of people who profess the opposite. This post, which is one of many on the topic, can attest to that!

Some of us who support the “exercise” understand that it is akin to the annual planning ritual of businesses (large and small). We are advocates because we know that whether you carve out time to spend an hour or a day focused on your goals/resolutions, it provides an opportunity to think deeply about where you are, where you want to be, and how to close the gap.

First shift

Before I delve into the three shifts I am noticing (maybe projecting?), I’m curious: 

  • How many goals/resolutions did you set for 2020? 
  • How many of them are new vs. rollovers from previous years? 
  • How many of them are the result of the year-end review you did? 
  • Do you have a blend of goals that span the key areas of your life – or are you lopsided? 
  • How has the fact that we’ve entered a new decade impacted the types of goals you’ve set or resolutions you’ve declared?
  • Have you determined what habits (existing or new) your goals/resolutions will require of you?
  • Have you adjusted your mindset to get ready for the results your goals/resolutions are in service to? 

I ask these questions because one of the things I’m noticing is that people are shifting away from treating their goals/resolutions as a punch list.

So when you pause and do the above, you set yourself up to approach your goals/resolutions from a more holistic standpoint. And I think this is why more people are coming out of the shadows as being “for” having goals/resolutions at the top of year.

(By the way, if you weren’t aware, I have a workbook that helps with this, too; click here to check it out.)

Second shift

Also, when you ask the questions above, you tend to more clearly and quickly see if you’re making a critical mistake when it comes to your goals/resolutions: Setting too many of them!

Although we can probably agree that not setting any goals/resolutions would count as too few…

…there’s no one-size-fits all for what constitutes as too many at any given moment.

That’s a sweet spot only you know. But you do know it, intuitively. You can tell by the constraints you have when it comes to your time, energy, attention and money. Because all of your goals/resolutions require each of these resources, but in different measures.

The best way to determine if you have too many goals is to ask yourself for each goal/resolution:

  • How much time can you or are you willing to allocate toward working on them?
  • How much energy do you have, and when are you at your peak energy? Is that the time of day when you can actually work toward your goals/resolutions? (Or do you have a competing priority at that time?)
  • Have you created an environment so that, even if you have the time and energy, you can actually focus and give your full attention to whatever is the task at hand?
  • How much money does this goal require – in general and right now? 

Sure, there are periods of time when you may exceed your resources. Cuz, you know…life! But when this becomes a constant state of being, this is when you know you’ve reached your capacity and have too many goals. As you read that last sentence, you may have had a “duh, that’s obvious” reaction. Yet, think back on times in the past wherein you only realized that you took on too much and underestimated what you needed — after the fact!

Third shift

According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist and founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, “humans are the only primates able to plan ahead.” Yet, we tend to be awfully bad at it. We tend to underestimate what it will take to achieve our goals (see above) and we actually resist change – even as we seek it. Go figure!

One of my #hacks for tackling this “natural” human tendency is to think annually, implement quarterly. More specifically, to plan in 90-day increments. Or, like those who work in tech like to say, “work in sprints.” 

You don’t have to work in tech or in large groups to see the benefits of using this approach to your goals and resolutions. Not only does this help to build and maintain momentum, it can also reveal – sooner rather than later – if your efforts will net the results you want. And if you discover you’re off track, you now have both insight and time to adjust your habits, systems and processes that you likely wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Several years ago, I wrote a short piece about how…

goals and resolutions aren’t just about the future you want as they are about the actions you need to take in the present. (Click here to read.)

That’s why it is useful to adopt a 90-day approach to the goals and resolutions you set. It will help you do your best at managing your time, energy, attention and money, so that you set yourself up for success. Plus, it’ll help you avoid the mistakes of (a) treating your goals/resolutions purely as a punch list, and (b) being overly optimistic by setting too many of them.

Besides, if you’re like me, you’re not looking to set just any goal or declare just any resolution. You want it to be the “right” ones – as in those that can change key aspects of your life in a meaningful way.

That’s why I am inviting you to join my friend and colleague, Jessica Abel, and me for a special training she’s doing for you — my peeps. It’s called “One Goal to Rule Them All” – click here to RSVP. It’s free; it’s during lunch; it’s Thursday, January 9 at 12:30pm ET. I’m excited because it speaks to one of the adjustments I’m making to how I’m approaching my goals in 2020!

Again, Happy New Year! I hope 2020 is off to a fantastic start.

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