Does Your New Year’s Resolution Support Your Legacy Goals?
With the New Year just around the corner, most people are thinking ahead to New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, 80% of resolutions fail by the end of January. When it comes to setting goals, personally or for a business, here is a process that can help.
When we consider goals, we often think of monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals. Sometimes we think ahead to a three-year or five-year goal. But have you ever considered thinking longer term? For instance, what would your one-hundred-year goal be? It’s an important, and perhaps scary, goal to consider because no matter your age, it’s a goal for beyond your life.
What are your legacy goals for your New Year resolution?
Starting with a goal for your legacy really puts into perspective what will happen each day. But, I believe the reason that most New Year’s Resolutions fail is because they simply aren’t important enough to our legacies to compel us to achieve them. Whether the goal is increasing sales, losing weight, or spending more time with friends or family, if it doesn’t contribute to our legacy then it likely won’t happen because it’s not compelling enough to stick it out.
The first time we think about our legacy, it can be difficult to even articulate what we want to do. One great place to start is to consider your daily or weekly activities and ask, “Would this be consistent with my hundred-year goal, even though I’m not sure what that is yet?” There are many moments in daily life where I can say, “I’m not sure exactly what I want my legacy to be, but I know for sure that this activity won’t contribute to what I want it to be.”
Once we’ve established some legacy context, it becomes much easier to set compelling one-year, three-year, and five-year goals. I prefer to create New Year’s goals in each of Gallup’s Five Elements of Well-Being.
Here are the five areas of life to consider:
- Career Well-Being: What do I do each day for work? Do I like it and does it play to my strengths?
- Social Well-Being: Do I have strong relationships and love in my life?
- Financial Well-Being: Do I have the economic resources to do what I want to do in life?
- Physical Well-Being: Do I have good health and energy to live life each day?
- Community Well-Being: Am I engaged with the area in which I live or causes I care about?
Considering goals across all five areas is key because they are interdependent and inseparable from each other. Pursuing goals in one area while ignoring the others will lead to declining overall well-being and is another reason why many goals fail. This is because in order to achieve anything, we must prepare to give up something else.
Therefore, good goal setting will involve not only creating clear outcomes for what success looks like (specific, measurable, and time-bound goals) but also intentionally considering what will be sacrificed for the achievement of the goal. This step allows us to consider the actual work that needs to be done on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis as well as our capacity to put in that effort.
When obstacles arrive, keep going
We should also consider what obstacles may arise and how we’ll deal with them when they do. We may choose to identify key strengths we can leverage, accountability partners or coaches to help, or simply preparing to reset our mindset to get back on track.
For all New Year goals, replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk
Finally, we need to consider our affirmations and daily beliefs. What are some positive, short mantras we can repeat to ourselves about what we’re working to accomplish? Science has proven time and time again that self-image is key to what is accomplished.
It can feel scary to take on a truly challenging and impactful goal. When I first started running marathons for charity (weighing 348 pounds and having never run a single mile in my life), my coach taught me, “You have what it takes, but it will take everything you’ve got.” Embracing the challenge, considering my legacy, and having a plan is what has allowed me to complete two Boston marathons and one Chicago marathon while raising over $50,000 for vulnerable children around the world.
As we end 2021, I hope that you’ll set ambitious goals to help change the world, even if only for a single person. And I believe if you do more than just make a resolution, and truly embark on a goal-setting journey, you’ll accomplish whatever you want in 2022.
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