By MARILYN TAM
“For eleven months and maybe about twenty days each year, we concentrate upon the shortcomings of others, but for a few days at the turn of New Year we look at our own. It is a good habit.” – Arthur H. Sulzberger
Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year? A majority of people make New Year’s resolutions, but 73 to 92 percent of them quit before they accomplish whatever they promised themselves that they would do. How can you improve the chances that you will fulfill your potential and the laudable goals that you’ve set for yourself?
Oftentimes we make resolutions that are impressed upon us by social pressure and by what we think we “should be” doing. We are listening to the voices in our heads telling us what we ought to do instead listening to our inner wisdom. When our goals are not fully aligned with our life purpose, the chances for success are greatly lowered.
So before you decide which resolutions for the year you really want to follow through on, ask yourself, what do you really want? In a recent survey of millennials, 80 percent said that a major life goal was to be rich. And 50 percent said another big goal was to be famous. The Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest study on happiness following people for over 75 years, shows that that loving relationships gives us the most joy and good health, and that other successes come from that.
To further support the premise that good relationships foster business success, this past year Harvard Business Review highlighted a study by Cornell University that revealed group performance was improved when co-workers ate together frequently. Bonding over a shared social activity helped workers learn how to cooperate and support each other above and beyond the boundaries of their jobs.
Does the above information change your New Year’s resolutions? Are you satisfied with your relationships? Are they meaningful and supportive? When we step back to review our lives we have more perspective. With this clearer discernment we can determine what truly would support the Real You, not the society imposed version of you.
Write down the goals that you truly wish to achieve. It should be a short list, when we are touching close to our core of our being; the words are simple and clear. For example in my case, my life mission is to make a positive difference in the world. Each day I can assess what I can do to move towards that. At the beginning of the year I review my goals and make a list of what I can do to help make everything and everyone I touch happier and healthier. Here are the five steps you too can use to help you accomplish your goals:
- Identify and set your goals based on your life purpose.
- Start now – initiate action. Small steps are perfect. The key is to do something instead of just thinking about it. You can start as simply as by making a list of things you can do – research, ask for help, join a group, take a class etc., move out of just dreaming into action.
- Break the goal into component parts. A huge ambition can be daunting, but if you reduce it into manageable sized steps you can see progress easily and be encouraged to move forward as each little part gets done. If you give yourself a monthly goal of say, losing five pounds, your overall aim of losing 40 pounds will seem easier. And if you lose four pounds in a month, you would have achieved 80% of the goal for the month; it helps you maintain the motivation to keep going.
- Develop mutual support. Whether it is to exercise or to read a book regularly, it is much easier and more fun when you have other people to share the activities with. Collaborating with others is also supportive of your overall plan to fostering warm relationships.
- Appreciate your humanity. Don’t be your own worst critic. There are times when we are going to slip, acknowledge the mistake, learn from it and/or rectify it as needed, and resume your momentum with action towards achieving your goals. When we are too harsh on ourselves we become reluctant to set big objectives for fear that we will fail and be embarrassed or berated, especially by our inner judge.
For this New Year, claim the real you. Don’t make resolutions that are going to be cast aside before long because you are not fully committed to them. Take the opportunity to assess who you really are, and follow your life mission to fulfill your destiny. That was why you were born. Happy New Year.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs