Jot Down a Life Plan
with Your New Years Eve Resolutions as Battering Ram
Welcoming a New Year with an entry and new goals
new year, new me. I'll try to put up some new years resolutions, to improve the quality of my life. When reviewing the past year, less then half my goals have been achieved and this was predominantly due to a lax approach meeting my goals. I wasn't 100% behind my goals, maybe they were just too unrealistic and the results showed I will need to modify them or search for a better plan to meet my goals.
Then it isn't about changing totally my personality. A new me, should be at its core be the same person with some "adjustments". I like to think about it, like upgrades. Years ago, playing Need for Speed, I've started out with a car that was boring and for each achievement I reached, there was an opportunity to enhance the look and the mechanics under the hood. With enough points gained, after a while you could replace even the car. I like to think improving me, resembles this game, without ever of course replacing me.
A new year means, I will come across with my new years resolutions I made up last year and which I didn't met. Probably most of them will be similar to those I failed to achieve. This isn't a nice point of the year. It probably resolves around lying to myself badly and trying to force myself into something I'm not ready. Without any preparation, odds are I will end up with the same results.
Dealing with my failures, it is easier to come in terms with it, when I use the third person approach. It's only you who failed, not me. I don't write a new years resolution blog post on march. It is you. I know why you couldn't achieve it on time. A new design has been implemented at Mynlo the last few months, plus some other enhancements. The work at your day job was demanding and put pressure on your timelines and you have also to be social at some point of the day.
But this is all cosmetics. My diary enables me, to talk about any topic I like in the first person. I'm talking to a friend who listens without to interrupt me, judge me or get to any conclusions that don't make any sense.
I have to tell myself that the last year was an outlier and things will go this time as I think they will and therefore my goals will be achieved. This is a great way to excuse myself from taking responsibility about my past . It is a smoothing feeling for my soul. Although of short-term gain, then obviously I can reach true happiness only when I achieve my goals. That's a hard truth. I should remind myself of this fact more often.
This is an odd diary entry to write for a new year, but the best start to something new comes, when I begin to be honest about where I am. A view of my reality can be the exact motivation I need to go further and look after my goals.
What to expect form this life plan
This blog post I hope will become a guide to help everyone around to create realistic new years resolutions. Maybe more than that, it might help you (& me) set up a realistic life plan and create the necessary basement to build upon in future. This plan has to be measurable so I could track down how good I'm doing over time. It will need to be written and easy retrievable.
I will not pretend to be an expert in this field. I have tried a few things out last year which worked for me and those things I will share here. Then I searched how to improve the existing bits to achieve some real progress. This was the second half of the year. I keep doing this for nine months and the progress I achieved on all fronts is amazing.
I should say at this point it does work for me, but it may not work for you. That's life. It could be this isn't fun enough for you and that's the reason it did fail. I could be another reason, you really can't know at this moment, but it will not cost you anything to try it and find out. Your motivation will not be higher than at this moment. I was so surprised at the beginning, when goals started to get achieved. This is a pleasant feeling for change.
The usual New Years resolutions approach
Last days of the year and a new one is slowly approaching. I have some things around my life that bother me and a fresh start which the new year offers, is a great building block to take on those tasks with the goal to improve myself. When I think about it, jotting down this list is pretty easy, as the things I am missing in my life are easy to distinguish. In less than 10 minutes I have my new years resolutions ready, maybe it's just the same list I have had written the year prior.
This is something you could do too and probably did many times. New Years Resolutions can differ a lot, but usually fall into one of those five categories. I will list also some common new years resolutions connected with them. All sound great and you can add/remove as many as you like, and this will give you a look at what you think are your priorities for this year. One issue will be that those can add up to a lot. My list below has the mere "basics" and contains already 16 points to fix. Some points are general and could hide more points in them.
For example the resolution "pick up useful skills and fun hobbies", could include things like, learn a spanish language, read one book a month, join a basketball fantasy league, go to a chess club and more. Every single point on this list exists outside of my real life and will need to be inserted somehow in my routine. The issue here is, I like my current routine. Yeah, I didn't admitted it earlier, but I have worked on those habits for years, created a pattern and follow it unconsciously with zealous.
Ahh, this list is overwhelming. Maybe I could deal with a few points in it. I will pick up the most easy to follow up and call it a day. Actually, this was my approach for many decades. Even the first half of last year, proceeded this way. I didn't kept up with any goal I chased. This approach sucks. It is okay, to not make me feel like a loser, but it lacks lots of effectivity. It is a waste of time.
|Health||Time Management||Social interactions||Financial achievements||Self-Improvement|
|Losing weight||Stop procrastinating||Find a significant other||Get out of debt||Turn your hobby into a career|
|Get in shape||Be more productive||Meet new people||Start saving money||Pick up useful skills or fun hobbies|
|Visit more often a doctor||Get more quality sleep||Be more with your family||Earn more money||Stop being late all the time|
|Give up smoking||Watch less TV||Spend less time on social media||Spend money wisely||Learn to control your emotions|
So, how do I stick with my resolutions this new year?
The list might be long, but chasing my dreams and not giving up on them is where I will find my happiness. So making the list shorter by "forgetting" a few on the way, is not a viable option. What we will need to do is, scheduling our life goals in a way, we can accomplish them one by one. Our life goals must gain some importance in our eyes, else they will fall behind other tasks we'll have to fulfill.
1. Define your roles
Defining where you stand right now and where you want to go, is the most important milestone. I have some responsibilities in life and these are attached to some roles. Do you know which roles you occupy in your life and what you want to achieve in each of your roles? Nurturing the roles that are important to you will help you achieve success in areas that really matter, making you happier and more relaxed.
Here's a list to help get you started:
You could add any other role that's representing you. In my case, the roles I wear are: Boyfriend, Son, Brother, Friend, Entrepreneur, Employee and Writer.
2. Understand your current situation
After you have chosen the roles you take in life it's time to think about how you are doing at each one of them. In one or two short paragraphs write down how you view your role unfold until this moment.
An example of how I would describe my brother role:
I try to be there when she needs me, but my work and my other responsibilities don't allow me to spend as much time with her as I would. I want to call her, but often find excuses doing it. We have lost some of the rapport we had in the past and I don't make her laugh often.
You can take on new roles in future or losing a role because life is full of surprises. This is normal and happens to everybody. The point is to be honest with yourself, getting a rough idea where you stand. You will need to be able to measure your success. Your plan needs some motivation to be executed and you will see in front of you how step by step you can improve on things that matter to you.
3. Death and taxes are the only sure things in life
Then there is a topic you probably avoid talking about. The sincere knowledge that at some point in your life you will die. I will die. Everyone will and still we live often in a way that would make someone observing us, wonder if we know the fact. We try to ignore death as much as we can and want to deal with it only when absolute necessary. A famous quote by Chuck Palahniuk says:
We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
Unconsciously, believe me, we all do something in that direction. The fear of death is the ultimate driving motivator of everything. So in reality it isn't about if you do something out of death fear but what you do.
Posting images on Instagram is a way of leaving something behind for people to watch. Achieving a new level or record on Fortnite ensures your name will get remembered. You could become a local hero and a street or building would be named after you. Making Babies is a common way of keeping your heritage alive. Leaving a will helps your kids raise their kids. Your stories can act as past wisdom for your kids who will mention you in conversations. Becoming famous helps you leaving a foot stamp on earth. Everybody knows Michael Jackson, Leonardo da Vinci. Being rich opens the gates to get easier acknowledged by the "right" people.
We can use this fear, to get productive. Compiling our roles in a way that will align with our values.
4. Which expectations do you want to meet
When you daily occupy your roles either switching from one to another or dealing with some simultaneously during your day, you want to achieve something. How do you want to get remembered by people you have to live with? A good way to sort this out is to think what you would like people to say in your funeral. I know this is macabre, but for our purpose it's very effective. For my part, I would like my sister to say something like this about me:
I want my sister to believe that everything is possible in life. To have given her the courage to chase her goals. I want my sister to know that I cared for her and was genuinely interested in her life. I always was there for her when she needed me. I want her to say that I made her laugh and we had a good time together.
Now, it's your turn. For any role you have, write down, what you would like people affected by you to say on your funeral. When you are ready, it will become easier to you, setting which roles have a greater priority in your life. Shift the roles accordingly. Over your lifetime roles can gain or lose in importance, and therefore you have to review them from time to time. This can be per month of per quarter, whatever timeframe does work for you, it is fine.
5. Putting goals to work
You have written a few new years resolutions like I did above. They may seem like a lot and make you feel overwhelmed. Your ultimate goal is to achieve every goal and dream on that list. Choosing and meeting only a few goals of this list isn't fulfilling. Take a moment, review it and add every goal you would like to achieve. Now you have a foundation and an end destination. Your goals will become easier to be fitted in your life. Compile a bucket list with everything you would like to do. If nothing comes to your mind, it surely can be also short term stuff, like buying milk and bread from a store nearby.
In David Allen's book "Getting Things Done", there's a pretty good method mentioned to getting small things done. If you see anything on your list which wouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to do, stop whatever else you do and complete the tasks necessary now. Your dreams are worthless without any form of action. Being written in some form doesn't give your dreams any value. Only your actions can do this.
When you finish come back again to your list and strike through what you achieved. Whatever is still there on your list, it is something that needs more time than 5 minutes to get resolved. Your goals are possibly written in a broad style, like lose weight. Dedicate some time to make those goals more specific, then if your goals are unclear you will most likely see no gains.
- Broad goal: Lose weight
- Specific goal: On or before May 3, 2020, I weigh 155 pounds.
We will use another little trick. We are humans and many things can happen which will not allow us to keep the promises we have given. One way to deal with this, is to establish multiple possible outcomes. These backup goals will ensure that you have a purpose when things don't look good and then also a greater goal if you accomplish it earlier on your timetable.
- Best Case: On or before May 3, 2020, I weigh 150 pounds.
- Specific goal: On or before May 3, 2020, I weigh 155 pounds.
- Worse Case: On or before May 3, 2020, I weigh 160 pounds.
This method will help you greatly to gain some reps when you have always had difficulty to meet goals. The best part, it's up to you to decide upon how close the best case goal is from the worse case goal. You are setting you up to really achieve things. Now, what you have to do is to distribute your dreams and goals to their respective role. Some goals can affect many roles. For example, stop being late all time, will affect your manager role, your friend role and your Husband role.
This is your life plan with an outlook to serve you for more than 1 year from now. When a goal is met, strike it through than this will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Nothing better then reaching your true goals in life. You will have to review it with some frequency, fitting your preferences. Roles can change during your life, so your goals could be affected by it. Your roles contain your values and beliefs. Serving them is to your benefit.
6. Setting up a weekly plan to follow
Your short term approach could include a weekly plan that is mastered once a week. In this plan you will need to dump any small steps necessary to get closer to a big goal. You should list any other task you will need to do on this specific week. This will be a weekly bucket to do list, and having it in electronic form would help you, rushing the process of compiling the plan on a calendar like One Calendar or Windows 10 build in calendar tool. Copy Paste is your friend here.
The way to success is always paved with obstacles and it will often occur that you will miss tasks or miscalculating the time needed to accomplish a task. This is normal, just keep going and you will be fine. Remember the best way to get started things is to tackle first the tasks, which don't need five minutes to be done. If you like a more rigid approach to planning your week, make some room on your planner for your free time.
Whatever the results will be in the end, if you chase what you love and accomplish a large part of what you dreamed of achieving, the journey alone will give you the satisfaction to feel your life being worth something. Nobody knows when your life will end, and how far you will manage to go with your plans. Control whatever you can which isn't much, besides your daily actions. Life is a precious gift and you should enjoy every moment of it.
I wish you a happy life planning and may your dreams be achieved.
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