Most people know that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. But they go ahead and set them anyway.  Why? Because often they don’t know a better way.

The statistics are pretty grim.  80% of people will have broken their new year’s resolution by January 17.

I see evidence of this every year when I go back to the gym after it’s been closed for New Year’s. Formerly empty machines are packed with people. Some even have lines of members waiting their turn.

As the hordes of people who have resolved to lose weight line up, they are living on the glow of willpower that comes from a New Year’s resolution.

But with each passing week in January, the crowds thin out more and more. Usually by the middle of February things are back to normal and that weight loss program that was so resolved on January 1st is a distant memory.

Yet, there are still people who come in every week – the regulars – who remain.

Why?

Determination

It is because they have set a goal and are determined to meet it. Maybe it is to lose weight – and they have a specific number like 20 pounds. Or maybe it is just to be in the gym, working out 3 times a week no matter what. They have a goal and they stick to it.

Part of what makes a goal work is that it is compelling. A goal can become compelling by either inspiration or desperation. Either there is a strong desire to move towards a more positive life. Or, you have had enough of the way things are, and you must change.

Sometimes the start of making a big change is to just recognize where you are, and where you want to be that could be better.

Where Are You…and Where Do You Want to Be?

It is useful to think of different aspects of your life as categories, and to set goals for each category. Below are some common categories that people set goals for. Feel free to make your own list of categories using these as a guide

Rate each area of your life on a scale of 0-10. 0 is lousy and 10 is outstanding.

Where Are You Today?

  • Health and Physical body _____________
  • Emotions and states of mind _____________
  • Relationships _____________
  • Family _____________
  • Friendships _____________
  • Time _____________
  • Work/career/mission _____________
  • Finances _____________
  • Community  _____________
  • Growth _____________
  • Contribution _____________
  • Spiritual _____________

Now decide where you want to be in a year, and give a rating for that.

Where Do You Want to Be?

  • Health and Physical body _____________
  • Emotions and states of mind _____________
  • Relationships _____________
  • Family  _____________
  • Friendships _____________
  • Time _____________
  • Work/career/mission _____________
  • Finances _____________
  • Community _____________
  • Growth _____________
  • Contribution _____________
  • Spiritual _____________

Take a look at your list.  Did you notice any big gaps between the rating of where you are now in where you want to be? If so, that is a category that you might want to set some goals in.

Consider: What will your life be like if you made some changes in your life and you lived your life with the ratings where you want them to be? Wouldn’t that be more compelling than where you are today?

Consider a few more questions below that may motivate you to set some new goals:

  • What do you want more of?
  • What do you want less of?
  • What is one thing that you really want, but have never really been able to get?
  • What do you want more of in life?
  • What do you want less of in life?

Use these questions to prompt a desire to make some changes in your life.

What’s Next?

In the next post I will go over a proven framework to set and achieve goals.

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