Here we are, just a week into the new year. It’s 2016 already and this is the time many people set some resolutions and do some goal setting. Unfortunately, most don’t follow through on these resolutions and goals. If we did, everyone would be skinny and making a lot more money than they do now. So, if the vast majority of goals and resolutions for the New Year are not achieved, why do so many do it?
The answer has more to do with the calendar than anything else. The New Year is a new beginning. It’s when we traditionally look back and reflect on the last 12 months as a culture. It’s when we begin to look forward to what’s coming in a new way. However, it’s not really the beginning of anything new except the calendar. Kids are still in school, and except for college kids, when most kids go back, it’s not a reset of a semester. Our jobs may have a new fiscal year, but that’s arbitrary and not all use January 1st to begin the new year. It’s just the start of another month. Heck, until 250-300 years ago, the new year wasn’t even January 1st. It came on the first day of Spring.
So much of our lives revolve around getting to the end of the year, whether it’s Christmas, taxes or the busy retail season. When January comes, it seems like that’s the point at which we can finally take a breath and relax a little. It allows us to be more retrospective and reflective than we’ve had the chance for in months. The calendar drives that, so we use it.
Unfortunately, we are better at identifying the areas where our lives fall short, where we desire to be, do or have more. It’s the execution where we fail. We fail to craft a set of real goals or good new habits we want to adopt. Most likely we really fail at the action plan part of things. Your goals or resolutions may be vague or not as clear as we’d like, but the plan for achieving them is almost non-existent most of the time. However, it’s the plan for achieving those goals that is most important.
If we know we want to lose weight, that’s not a great goal. It’s not specific and doesn’t have a deadline. However, if we commit to the necessary exercise and change in diet, the goal can be achieved, even if it’s a poorly formed goal. Why? Because we took specific actions to achieve the vague result. That’s way better than taking vague actions to achieve a specific result in my book. Actions are what achieve goals, even poor ones. Actions done aligned with a plan is how successful things are built in the real world whether it’s a building, a campaign or a business.
By all means, spend some time on your goals and your resolutions. But spend MORE time on your plans and implementing them. THAT is the key to success.