With the New Year just around the corner, this is a great time to start thinking about the short and long term goals for next year. These goals should be powerful and motivating, and not just behaviors or issues you want to address to check off a box or to fit in with what others are doing in their professional and personal lives.
The New Year’s Resolution Trap
Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution only to find it fizzles out in about mid-February? In some cases, it may not even make it through to the end of January. What seemed like such a relevant goal simply fades into the background or becomes such an insurmountable and unobtainable goal that it is overwhelming, and get resigned as something to work on next year.
This is the problem with New Year’s Resolutions and why they are not the same as personal and professional goals. New Year’s Resolutions are a statement of what you want, but they have limited planning, reality testing, or even related to what you really want. Most New Year’s Resolutions are fairly generic and tend to include losing weight, getting the gym, reading more, or taking up a hobby or activity. Professional goals may include taking a training course, completing a degree, or maybe applying for that upper management position.
While these are all excellent options, they are not something that you are likely passionate about, which is why they are easy to push to the back burner in the next couple of weeks.
Find Your Deep “Why Does This Matter”
The key to finding a goal that resonates with you is to dig deep into understanding why you care about that goal. What about that change creates a passion in your heart that can propel you through the next 12 months? What is the real underlying reason why that particular goal is meaningful to you?
Remember, setting goals is not just about your professional life. Some of the goals you are most passionate about are personal in nature, but in learning new things in our personal life, we can become better in our professional lives as well.
The happier we are in all areas of life, the more it impacts our ability to be resilient in the face of challenges, to withstand life’s storms and troubles, and to create meaningful and positive ways to connect with others.
This year, don’t set a meaningless goal for yourself. Instead, think about your passions in life, and choose a goal that capitalizes on what motivates you the most to achieve your best.