Rethinking Resolutions: Starting Small to Go Big

As we near the end of December, many people craft resolutions hoping to propel themselves toward personal and professional successes in the coming year. I resist resolutions. In fact, I invite you to rethink resolutions, too.

New Year’s resolution statistics published in December 2020 from a survey showed that slightly over 25% of Americans who set resolutions for 2021 either did not believe their resolution was within reach or were neutral about the outcome of their resolution. That’s over 47 million Americans who set resolutions they were uncertain about keeping.

Why set resolutions you don’t think you’ll achieve? If you’re passionate enough about what you want your future to include, I counter it isn’t necessarily the resolution that is the issue, but the approach to reaching it.

Resolutions are often big, bold, and personally important. As with large goals, though, unless you are clear about why reaching the resolution is important, how reaching that goal will make you feel, and how you can practically achieve your resolution, the excitement of the initial goal may fade and eventually feel overwhelming.

Last month, I shared a practice I use with some of my clients related to imagining life one year in the future and writing everything they can down about that life to make it feel real and present. This month, I encourage you to revisit that exercise. Instead of resolutions, consider creating a 90-day plan of smaller, actionable steps toward the future you imagine.

Author Michael Hyatt publishes and podcasts extensively about bringing visions into reality. In his latest blog post, he even addresses how big goals can make us uncomfortable, but it is through these goals that great things are possible.

Some of Michael Hyatt’s books with practical approaches toward reaching larger goals include:

Breaking larger goals down into smaller objectives encourages forward progress. It is easier to take steps toward your big vision when it feels less overwhelming because you’re accomplishing those smaller steps.

Another strategy is to measure progress toward key results. John Doerr, author of Measure What Matters, is a proponent of what he terms Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). If you haven’t heard of OKRs, his 2018 Ted Talk provides a great introduction to this concept.

Ultimately, breaking your big vision for the future into smaller, concrete, achievable steps means that wherever you are on your journey, you’re making progress carrying you toward that larger vision.

I hope these resources kindle your passion and help you identify what small steps you can take today and in the next 90 days toward your big vision for 2022.

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