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Ditch New Year's Resolutions For A Better Vision

Happy New Year from Spyka! Hope you are having a great start to 2015.

Although I am not a big fan of the traditional resolutions, like many of us I think it is important to use the new year as a time to reflect, reset, and refocus. The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is they are big on good intentions but lack a long-term plan to help us achieve our goals. Think about it, the root of the word resolution is "RESOLVE." I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I am expecting my willpower alone to change years of bad habits then I can probably kiss that well-meaning goal to consistently stay in the gym good bye before I say hello to March.

So going forward in 2015 we at Spyka want to recommend some tools for setting your goals this year:

Create Margin

So I learned this lesson the hard way. Anyone who follows me on social media knows I brought in the new year with no voice along with a sore throat and abs (lots of coughing was involved). The valuable annual leave I had saved up might as well have been sick leave. Needless to say it was not the "stay-cation" I had hoped for. I planned to start out 2015 with a bang but it was definitely a bust. All my intentions of focusing on fitness, business, and life goals were replaced by bedrest and medication. But I learned my lesson after getting violently sick for the third time in the last two months. That message was received loud and clear after I learned from experience risking your health is a horrible way for your body to get your attention. Incorporate intentional rest and relaxation! Incorporate intentional rest and relaxation!

But you do not have to wait for your body to give out to create margin. Most of us are busy, productive, high-capacity individuals so when we find ourselves with a few extra hours of free time what do we do? Try to fit in more work, more activities, or maybe a few hours in front of the TV. But this approach is actually counterproductive and ultimately results in diminishing returns. We need to schedule in rest as well as time to reflect and refocus with the same committment we schedule work or our social life. And while you might think you are resting by spending a few hours curled up with streaming video, your brain is still expending a lot of energy taking in that movie. So next time you have a few hours to spare opt for a long walk, bath, or some other way to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

Positive Deposits

This idea came from conversations with a recent client who found herself struggling only a few months after she had reached a major professional milestone and another whose team had gotten bogged down half way through an important initiative. What we uncovered in both instances is sometimes working on a big idea, project, or new business venture can leave you feeling accomplished but also drained.

Just like we make deposits and withdrawals from our bank accounts, we do the same to our emotional and pschological reserves. Enough late nights, killer deadlines, negative interactions at work or home, or even minor setbacks, can slowly wear us down as individuals and teams. Over time these withdrawals can have us question whether our sacrafices are worth the effort and can demotivate even the most purpose-driven among us. But asking ourselves these hard questions is not always a bad thing - they help us to prioritize our efforts, to increase margin in our lives, and to realign our goals to ensure we are in fact walking in our purpose.

So whether you are overwhelmed by a current project or stressed out by a new opportunity on the horizon, don't be afraid to take a step back and get back to the basics. If you can't see the whole plan than start with a few simple steps. If you don't feel like you can do everything, focus on what you can do. Start by making positive deposits into your personal and professional life. Focus your time and energy on activities that ignite your passion, fuel your creativity, and bring you joy and renewed focus. For example, a writer having issues getting her work published might change it up and spend more time writing short story for her kids to enjoy. A busy professional may decide to use his skills in a new arena by serving a local charity close to his heart. A programmer might decide to learn a new coding language that he been meaning study when he got the time. The key is to make the time for positive deposits, before you experience the cost of too many withdrawals.

Whatever the starting point, just like with your finances a committment to small positive deposits can get you out of emotional debt and into a place where you can begin making strategic investments into a grander vision for your life. Which brings us to our last point...

Vision Casting

I can't overemphasize the importance of vision casting for your personal life and for your business or organization. Again the problem with most resolutions are they involve some fuzzy destination in the future (like you with a better swimsuit body) but usually that vision isn’t compelling enough to overcome the thoughts, behaviors, or motivations that kept you doing the same things last year (like eating that second dessert and skipping trips to the gym - don’t act like its just me).

However I’ve found starting with a compelling vision, something that is important to you, your passionate about, or that you feel you are being called to do makes it easier to stick with the steps it will take to make it happen. Create a compelling vision by taking into account your core values, priorities, and the rewards you get from achieving your goal.

For example while I acknowledge health is important its not in intrinsic core value for me. I look at gym rats, marathoners, Zumba enthusiasts with both envy and bewilderment. But family is uber important to me. Its one of my top priorities. So my vision board this year will feature a picture of me and my family looking healthy and spending time outdoors (preferably on a vacation). Why? Because for me being healthy gives me more time to spend with people I love this year and for years to come. If I keep that goal in mind I will be better able to turn away seconds on the cheesecake.

Not sure exactly what your goals are for this year? That’s okay. Vision boards give you an opportunity to explore a goal without having to write it out. And just setting out in broad strokes where you want to be can still have a significant difference in your year. I’ve created vision boards only to set them aside in the hustle and bustle without giving them much more thought. But when I go back to review them years later it is amazing how many aspects of those visions are visible in my life. The power in the exercise was not in the board it in creating and setting forth guinunie intention which you carry with you every day.

That said I am a fan of using mediums where you can keep your vision board at hand- do it arts & craft style and take a photo, use powerpoint, or Pintrest - whatever works for you but make it thoughful, make it impactful, and make it fun.

Hopefully implmenting these ideas will get you closer to you want to be by December, while ensuring you are more rested and at peace.

Wishing you all the best in 2015,

Jaclyn Cole

Founder and CEO

Spyka Consulting

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