Say It Loud – End the Year Proud(ly)
Techniques for evaluating, setting, and achieving your goals and objectives for the new year
The beginning of a year typically finds us making resolutions and developing plans. In an article in American Psychologist magazine psychologists Janet Polivy and Peter Herman note:
- 25% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within the first 15 weeks of the year,
- A New Year’s resolution is made on average ten times, and
- Those who manage to make a resolution last for six months or longer have often tried five or six times before finally succeeding.
By the end of this year which do you want to happen…to look back and say “completed” or to check off “have not done”? The difference between the results is how we make our commitments and what we do to ensure we follow through. Use the following techniques for your planning process and twelve months from now, see if you have completed at least one resolution you otherwise may not have completed.
Look Back on Where You Are
Julie Shows, Certified Life Coach and Founder of The Coaching Connection, developed a year-end review form with questions for a workshop we co-facilitated for the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce the end of December. Rather than quietly answering these questions, try this more-powerful technique.
Find a colleague with whom you can have an honest conversation and who also wants to plan for the new year. Label two columns on a sheet of paper “personal” and “professional”. Interview each other by asking the following questions for both your personal and professional lives and take notes for each other.
- What went well [the past/currently-ending year]?
- What could you have done better?
- What will you do differently [next/newly-started year]?
The key to this exercise is the interview. Answer these questions out loud while your partner takes notes so you can focus completely on your answers.
Set goals for the new year from your answers your partner recorded. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. An example of a SMART goal might be, “To increase the number of new clients with signed contracts by 15-percent by October [new year]” as opposed to “To get more clients this year”. Be careful to not set too many goals for the year. You can set yourself up for failure if you cannot realistically accomplish all of them. Set at least one personal goal.
The Objective Is…
Just as you tackle a large meal one bite at a time, so must you tackle your year’s goals objective-by-objective. Develop two or three objectives from each goal by asking yourself what milestones you must accomplish in order to achieve each goal. Examples of objectives for the above goal might be Develop a prospect database of 100 viable client candidates, and Create solutions that meet prospects’ needs efficiently and economically.
Say It Loud
This next exercise requires your partner again. Take a stack of note cards and brainstorm aloud the resources, knowledge, and skills you need and actions to take in order to achieve your objectives. Have your partner write each item on a separate note card. Spread the note cards on a table. Arrange them by objectives. Many will span more than one objective. The end result of this exercise is a set of action items to implement to accomplish your objectives, in turn allowing you to attain your goals. Once again, talking out loud proves most effective for collecting thoughts.
With your action items written on note cards and spread in front of you, you have visual and tactile input to analyze the big picture. Plot your action items across the year using a year-at-a-glance calendar. Intersperse personal with professional items to create a balance in your life. When you break the big picture into actual months, weeks, and days you literally arrange the pieces to realistically complete a puzzle-your goals-by the end of the twelve-month period.
While all this may seem like a lot of steps, pieces of paper and effort, you will find you have engaged several of your senses in the process. In doing so you invest more of yourself in the process and tend to stick with making your plan a success over a longer period of time than if you simply transfer your schedule from one year to the next.
Setting goals and developing action plans may not be new to you. The difference in the process I just described is that you experience visual (sight), tactile (touch and movement), and auditory (sound) involvement in the planning and you realistically define action items within the big picture across the entire year. Say it loud when you define your plan for the new year and end the year proud of your accomplishments.
- American Psychologist Magazine. “If At First You Don’t Succeed: False Hopes of Self-Change”. Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. September 2002: 677-689
- Julie Shows. Certified Life Coach and President/Founder of The Coaching Connection. ConnectWithTheCoach.com
- Sylvia Henderson. Author-Workshop Facilitator-Speaker-Media Host. Founder/Chief Everything Officer (CEO) of Springboard Training. SpringboardTraining.com.
Sylvia Henderson conducts programs for end-of-year evaluations / mid-year checkpoints / new year planning. Participants practice these techniques for their individual professional and personal needs. The program works for both small groups and large. Each participant receives a worksheet to develop goals into actions. Contact Sylvia to schedule a program for your business or organization. The best time for such a program is the end of a year (November/December) or the beginning of a year (January/February). You might also consider a mid-year program or your fiscal year as a check-point.