Personally I think new years resolutions are over-rated, especially if you’re focused on long-term change; so I’m inviting you to join me this year on approaching the whole thing slightly differently…
When I look back over 2017 and reflect on where I am today, I can honestly say my New Years Resolutions have had probably zero baring on that; but have I failed? Absolutely not!
We often hear that life is made up mostly of not what we do, but how we react to the things that happen to us; yes, that’s exactly it. Unlike say a commercial jet, we can’t punch in the destination into the auto-pilot, sit back and sip coffee for 12 months, and that’s pretty much what we expect when we write down our resolutions. Well, you don’t have an auto-pilot…well I guess you kinda do, but it’s kinda crumby and will always switch to default settings and steer you towards sitting on the sofa, eating tortilla chips, and watching Netflix… USELESS! you might think, but actually no, our Auto-Pilot is set to ‘maintain and survive’-ville, and whilst you might not be setting the world ablaze and reaching your potential, you’ll be safe, you’ll be secure, you’ll be snug. So not entirely useless, but also in no way the effective goal setting strategy enabler you need for success in 2018!
So, to continue with the analogy, without an auto-pilot function we actually need to be flying this thing, hands on the controls, pushing buttons, keeping an eye on the radar, maintaining elevation…yeah…all those things; and this is exactly what we need to do in order to navigate our goals, and the turbulent times in between them. For some people, even the first wobble of turbulence is enough for them to freak out, grab the parachute, and smash the eject button, and often times this happens say in week 3 of the new year. We want to get to Top Gun status where we can land that thing and explain when asked why we didn’t get exactly where we wanted to….“it was inverted!” (No idea how a Tom Cruise quote got in here but we’ll roll with it!)
We need to earn our wings, stay at the controls, and figure these things out. Here are 7 Steps to getting 2018 off the ground and staying in control of the goals you’ve set, and so, if you would kindly put all luggage (metaphoric and physical) in the compartments available, strap yourself in…we shall begin.
- So lets have look at your past performance Rookie…
A brilliant way to do this, is instead of measuring your successes against goals you may have set yourself at the back end of 2016; is to take a short while to think of 5 key moments that shaped 2017 for you. A promotion / new job / brake-down of a relationship / death of a loved one, it really could be anything, and only you will know what these 5 things are.
2. How did this affect your performance?
Now consider what that event has meant to you, the impact it has had, and consider both the positive and negatives of the event, because for sure, every ‘positive’ key moment, will bring its negatives – just as every ‘negative’ key moment, will bring along some positives.
3. You’ve landed here because of these things.
I want you to now take some time, to really appreciate these positive things; that for some reason, the world has afforded you – and also to acknowledge the resilience and strength you have handled the negatives with; and if you haven’t overcome all these; then maybe that’s a good starting point for 2018…better to resolve one set of issues, than set a whole new framework of potential issues up.
4. (L)Earn your wings.
With all that in mind, we can now begin to see how resilient we are, and pro-active we might be, and the vision that we have for change. It’s only by this ongoing reflection that we can improve our skills of piloting our own jets; and I would suggest that now these have been identified, making a conscious effort to overcome your limitations / shortcoming, would make a hugely positive difference to the year you’re about to have.
5. Recruit a Co-Pilot
Just as the case would be, I’m sure, if you were about to take to the skies, you would want like the absolute Don of a Co-Pilot. You know, the one who still wears one of those leather jackets with a fur collar, the one who landed that jet in ’82 when both engines cut out, the one who wrote the procedure book on ‘What to do when you’re caught having a nap, the controls lose power, and the visibility is zero’. Someone experienced in what you’re trying to do – and you’re trying to do life. So discussing your plans with an older person (but not always necessarily older, experience depending); can act as a great way to keep you in check, and on course to get to your destination.
6. Fly within your Limits!
Really what I’m saying here, is don’t push yourself too far, or set goals which from the start, you know are highly unlikely to be achieved. You could potentially set some really risky goals, and without the proper examination of these, the fall-out could be catastrophic – from losing assets, to losing friends / relationships, you need to make damn sure that you can handle what you’re setting out to do – your co-pilot should be a good sounding-board for when you’re feeling stretched..and this may well be one of those time you need to execute a planned ditching of your plane. But you know what…a calm sea never made a good captain, (okay okay I’m muddling my metaphors but you get my point).
7. Appropriate Usage of Auto-Pilot
As I mentioned before, your auto-pilot can be an effective tools to engage with – but a terrible tool to rely on! From time-to-time you need to rejuvenate and freshen up – initiate auto-pilot to do this; but do so with care…things get real comfortable, real quick, in auto-pilot, and before you bloody well know it, you’ll be back to the sofa, back to the snacks, and back to…well…meh.
I must apologise for the amount of flight metaphors used, I have no idea where they came from; but hopefully it all makes some sense at least; I really just want to share my feelings that without taking proper control of, and responsibility for, our goals; it can be no wonder they more often than not, end in failure.
Hopefully the parts around reflecting on past years will really line you up to make a success, no matter how big or small, of the goals you will be setting yourself up with for 2018.
Now…wheres that mountain?