Resolution Hack: New Year, 12 New Beginnings

Last 2015, I used a resolution tracker that worked so well for me! It helped me get stuff done, read the books I really wanted to read, listen to more podcasts, limit social media, and drink more water. I made this tracker because 1) I was so tired of making resolutions every year, failing to keep them after quarter one, and losing interest because I lost confidence that I could keep my own word to myself, 2) I wanted to change some habits and help myself do so through visual and positive reinforcement, and 3) My major goal last 2015 was to be more forgiving of myself and try again.

So in the spirit of this, I designed this tracker so that I could start fresh every month (and even every day!) and be encouraged to pick up from where I left off.

This 2017, I want to try this again. I designed this for myself, so it works well for me. I am curious though if it can work for some of you! If it is something you would like to explore, go ahead! If this somehow inspires you to design something for yourself, that would be awesome!

So here it is!

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What you need: 

  • An index card/thick paper that is as big or slightly smaller than the notebook you use every day (if you use notebooks, if not, make something that you can bring along with you and that you’ll see often). The idea is to use this card as a bookmark so that you get to see it every day.
  • A ruler – you’ll use to draw your rows and columns
  • Pencil
  • Your favorite pen!
  • Optional: colouring materials to decorate your tracker

The principles behind this: 

  • We all have more than one area in our lives and it is easy to take that fact for granted. Some of us make goals only for one aspect (mostly career) and that’s okay, but being intentional about the other areas in your life as well, can make a huge difference! The different areas in your life such as family, love, career, spirituality, health, and others, influence each other.
  • Habits are hard to establish! But once they are, they make life richer, more meaningful, and more productive. In fulfilling goals, forming habits are important!
  • We are not always the best decision makers and we don’t always have self-discipline. But during the beginning of the year, some of us have the best motivations and disposition to plan and implement resolutions we can keep (at least for the first quarter). Because this is usually the case, why not take advantage of your “New Year Self” and let it create a system that your “Rest of the year self” can work with?

The Steps! 

Step 1: Identify your major theme for the year! There is an awesome podcast called The Purposeful Creative hosted by Arriane Serafico you can listen to for guidance on how to identify a theme (and really, other topics and stories that will inspire you!) that is specific to you and compelling enough for you. If you are on IOS, you can subscribe through the Podcast app, if Android, you can do so through Stitcher.

Step 2: With your theme as your guide, identify your 1-3 major goals for the year. Are there monthly milestones that would help you get to the major goal?

Step 3: Guided by your theme, identify the areas in your life (Life Areas) you want to focus on and improve for 2017. To be more effective, choose 2 to 6 areas. The more areas you identify, the harder to track and to follow through.

So by now you should have: 1.) Theme for the year, 2.) 1-3 Goals for the year, 3.) Milestones for each goal – ideally with corresponding months you want to fulfil them, 4.) Your Life Areas. Some examples are Health & Fitness, Learning, Finances, Family, etc. 

Step 4: Draw the table for your monthly tracker and fill it up with the following row headers (your column headers are the months): 1) Goal – this could be one major thing/milestone you want to accomplish for the month connected to your goal for the year or just something you want to work on, 2) Project – this is just something small, something to keep you going. For example, if you are an artist who wants to paint frequently, you can make your project one big painting (and specify how big!), 3) Challenge/Dare – this will encourage you to frequently get out of your comfort zone. It could be something that is simple enough to accomplish but uncomfortable / difficult enough to qualify as a challenge/dare. You can add more row headers if you want! Mine last 2015 included “book of the month” too so I could focus on and finish one book instead of jumping from one book to another but never really finishing one.

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Every beginning of the month (or end of previous month), identify your specific Goal, Project, Dare, etc. for the month! You can also assign points for each if you want to.

Every end of the month, you can evaluate if you were able to fulfil your goals, projects, and challenges and “score” yourself (optional). For easier computation, use 100 and allocate this to the goals, projects, and challenges based on priority.

Step 5: At the back of your card, draw the table for your habits per area. If you decide to put points, an easy way to do it is to divide 100 points and assign numbers to the different areas. Remember that the value you assign to each area does not indicate that one area is more important than another! You can assign based on what area you think needs the most focus for the year. You can also equally divide 100 per area if you want to. Identify habits per area and assign points per habit that add up to the total points allocated per area (example below).

When you indicate habits, make sure that they are habits and not necessarily big goals. Habits are small things that you do every day almost automatically. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you get to exercise, drink more water, read 10 pages, and others, every single day? And the great thing is, when you fail to do any of these today, tomorrow is another day. Every day can be like New Year. =)

Every beginning of the day, evaluate the previous day and score yourself.

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How to compute your score if you decide to use a scoring system (this is how I do mine, feel free to modify): 

To get your daily score, add all the points. If you were able fulfil some habits partially or not up to the level you want to, you could assign lower points. Sum of all the points / 10 = your score for the day. For example, if your total score for the day is 80 (out of 100), divide 80/10 to get 8 (I’m soooo good at math like that)! So 8 is your score for the day!

To get your monthly score, get the average of all the daily scores. Then get the sum of your monthly score divide by 10. Get the average of the two to get your monthly score. For example, your average daily score is 7 and your monthly score is 6 (let’s say you got a total of 60, then divide by 10). Then your monthly score is (7 + 6)/2 = 6.5. Your score for the month is 6.5

To get your yearly score, get the average of all the monthly scores! You can also assign points for your goals for the year (also totals to 100), and divide by 10. Get the average of the two scores to get your yearly score.

Your target score is up to you! You can even assign “rewards” if you reach or exceed your targets. You can do this on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.

If you decide to do this, you should really try to commit to the theme and the principles behind the system, but not necessarily the same index card/card you made at the beginning of the year. Priorities change, things change, habits are formed, and new habits need to be formed. So revise as needed and don’t let the system constrain you. It is not supposed to! It is merely a guide and a tool to help you make and keep commitments to yourself.

So there! Hope you are all pumped up for 2017!

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