It’s a new year

166303-fireworksTime-changing Samoa has become the first country in the world to ring in the new year. Source: HWT Image Library


I know a host of people who have favorite holidays. For some it’s Memorial Day weekend, for many others it’s Halloween, which by my reckoning isn’t officially a holiday at all? I would say that for coaches, professionally speaking, that favorite holiday could be New Year – but with caveats.

New Year finds us filled with optimism and new resolve. With good intentions and fresh energy. It’s a wonderful feeling, until that is, it’s not. Here are six things to avoid.

1. Setting new goals that have absolutely no relationship to how you want to lead your life.
Do you find yourself making a list of random goals? This is in fact setting yourself up for failure! Instead, take a few minutes to imagine where you would like to be, or how you want to feel, exactly one year on from today. Jot down some notes about it. Now work backwards. What are the activities or ways of being that will get you to that vision? Break these activities into achievable tasks and make each a mini goal with an associated completion date or other relevant metric.

2. Repeating something that you did last year that didn’t work.
What’s to say if you go about your business exactly as you did last year, your life will turn out any differently? Perseverance is admirable but if something in your life didn’t work the year before, it might be time to take a different perspective and try an alternate route to reach your goal. Reflect back to ‘what worked’, and ‘what hasn’t worked’ in the past year, and in prior years too. Now make a plan using all the things that work for you, or a way to revise the things that didn’t and build from there. If you couldn’t get over your hurdle last year, go around it this year!

3. Under estimating how long it will take to achieve your goal.
As coaches we encourage you to have a healthy relationship to your goals. Acknowledge each small success as you journey along and find gratitude for everyone you meet and resources that show up. Your end goal may well shift a little based on what you learn along the way so be mindful and present with the small things that bring the greater goal closer.

4. Assuming that happiness is on the other side of success/your goal.
It’s a big trap to think ‘I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank) happens’. It is much more liberating to find your happy place right now and take it with you on your journey.

5. Getting confused between a commitment and a goal.
If you are results driven, know that commitments are harder to measure. You can commit to getting home to have dinner with the family more, and subjectively you could say that you did or didn’t do that over say a month. However, setting a goal such as – “Every Wednesday and Friday I will leave the office at 6.30pm to get home to have dinner with the family”, has much more energy and accountability. Vagueness can kill a great intention because it’s just too wishy washy for you to act on it.

6. Waiting for New Year!
The downfall to the concept of New Year, and its associated resolutions, is that a lot of folks feel that they have to wait for it to come around – but why? You can take inventory on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. Lock in what you’ve learned, reinvigorate and revise your actions accordingly. (There are plenty of different lenses through which to review our prior year. This is our favorite. 2012 : What brought us together. What’s on your personal highlight reel?)

One of our plans for 2013 is to use this spot as our ongoing journal for thoughts and observations (please note we are not ready to set a clear goal around how many times we might write. We are still going through the process of #1 above!).

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Wishing you a wonderful New Year full of learning and growth.