I think we’ve got this whole resolutions thing backwards. When we think of the classic New Years resolutions, like “lose weight, spend less time on Facebook, drink less”, it’s more to do with NOT doing things, than actively adding things you want.
And eating less, drinking less…that’s not fun. Sure, maybe it’s what needs to get done, but the emphasis is on avoidance, not abundance. If you’re interested in setting up a SMARTer goal, see my blog on the topic. This will help you focus on the end you want, not the pain of getting there.
There’s an exercise I love doing with career counseling and career coaching clients that is particularly powerful at the resolution time of year: a GAP analysis. You look at where are you and where you want to be.
A good framework for setting up the GAP analysis is the Wheel of Life (apologies for all the coach jargon). The wheel simplifies areas of life into clear categories.
If you’re interested in taking a quick self assessment, you can do so here.
New Years is a fantastic time to take a look at where you are within these categories, and think about where you want to be — in a year, five, ten, even 20 or 30 years down the road. Dream, and dream big!
So you have a column for where you are, and where you want to be (as many columns as you like for as long term as you want to dream). Then fill in the “GAP” with the the steps you need to take to get there.
For example, when I was in my 30s, I really wanted to have a child. In the GAP, I wanted to find a partner. As I grew older, and the partner wasn’t appearing (and my time horizon as well as biological ability to have children was shrinking), I looked into alternative solutions: next thing I knew, I was reading Knock Yourself Up and joining Single Mothers By Choice. Could I have that child without a partner? As it turned out: YES!
The goal stayed the same, but the strategy changed, so I gave myself more avenues toward reaching the goal that were not dependent on another person arriving in my life.
Not only is the Wheel of Life / GAP analysis a fantastic exercise for the resolutions time of year; it’s the gift that keeps giving. Keep a hold of it, and check back in year after year to watch how your goals and achievements stay linear — or not.
Today, you may be a woman who wants to find a partner, have a child and be outta this stifling corporation. In five years you may have a partner, a couple of kids and running a successful company. As JP Morgan said (according to the Internet), “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”