new year's sign

Approaching the New Year…

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Or, perhaps you choose a word, an intention or a focus area. This year, my guess is that many people are happy to leave 2020 behind. Yet, it’s a particularly appropriate time to not just kick 2020 to the curb, but to reflect on it. What did you learn that you want to apply to the following year? How did your priorities shift, or solidify? What did you gain greater clarity around?

Here are some thoughts to guide how we can approach our intentions for the new year.

1.Write it down.

There’s so much research supporting the fact that when you write down a goal, you increase the likelihood of achieving the goal. It adds to a feeling of accountability, too, so break out that planner, your phone, a notebook – whatever you have. If it’s on paper, consider posting it somewhere that is visible. This helps to remind us of the commitment we’re making!

writing new year's resolutions down

2. Be specific.

Do you want to “get better at X skill”? Expressed in that way, it isn’t specific, so who knows if it’ll happen?! If, on the other hand, you specifically call out “taking one virtual conference/quarter on the topic of communication”, you WILL get better at communication! That will be the by-product of your intentional, specific steps and focus in that area.

new year's inspirational note

3. Keep it simple.

Having your sights set on something big and challenging is not inherently bad. But, the trouble with resolutions is that they don’t stick, because they’re often too big to bite off at one time. We can’t gain momentum if we never get started!

Another reason to keep resolutions to a manageable level is because resolutions are often things we’ve struggled to gain traction on in the past. They may be areas that don’t come naturally to us, or things we’ve been unsuccessful at in the past. Because of this, we need to be extra kind to ourselves. Keeping it simple means we’ll be more likely to take that first step. We tell ourselves that we really want “that thing” (eating zero sweets all year, for example), but it may not be realistic given where we are today (daily sweets). It becomes a mental barrier that holds us back. Let’s walk before we run.

4. Throw out the rules.

Who says you only can have 1 resolution? Maybe you want to choose 1 thing in each of several categories, such as spirituality, business, parenting, marriage, or self improvement? If you do go for multiple things, though, make sure to keep each of them simple!

5. Put triggers in place.

happy new year sign in blocks

Proactively think about what will help you to keep the focus on what you selected. If you’ve chosen a focus word such as presence, for example, you could put calendar entries on the first of the month for the entire year saying “Reminder – presence” to help you to keep focus on the word. It’s your trigger to think about, and more importantly, take action on your intention.

It’s all too easy for months or even a whole year to fly by, as we get caught up just keeping the wheels on the bus, that we lose sight of what was important to us in the beginning of the year.

6. Consider continuity.

I love the idea of building on a strength, or digging deeper into a concept, year over year. If you like last year’s focus and want to further dive in, go for it! Continue to build on a strength or improve in a certain area, as a thread that connects the previous year to the next one. Whatever your approach, mindset matters, so let’s roll into the new year with an outlook of positivity and an expectation of good.