This is the time of year that everyone makes resolutions that by the end of the first month, if not the first day, are out the window - #FAIL. They are either so specific that there is no way they would ever succeed or they are so broad that they would never be able to tell if they succeeded or failed. This is why I think most of these are crap. Don't get me wrong, I am making some goals. I like the idea of new years resolutions because it feels like a clean start for the year. My goals are on broad areas that I can attach specific items to throughout the year. My idea is that I don't want to create something that I will fail from in January and feel like crap about for the year and I want to do something that is impact-full. Here is a process that I walked through to set up my goals:
1. Define the major areas in your life. Be honest. I have some friends tell me my list (Complete Fulfillment) is to complex but can you tell me one of these areas that does not exist in your life?
2. What are your priorities? Take a look at the list you made in #1 and put them in the order of what is the most important in your life. Take some time to think about this.
3. What do your actions say about your priorities? Take a look at the same list in #1 and now put them in the order of what you spend the most time on to the least amount of time. Again - be honest. This should be a reality check for most people.
4. Define 1-2 goals in each area for the year. I will leave this up to you about how specific or general but I would suggest it is something you can reasonably measure in some way.
5. From this list you should create a more narrow list of things (3-4) from that larger list that are based on the areas that you would like to be your highest priority. If you actually set 8-16 goals based from the larger list you have no chance to get them all done. I am going to focus on the areas that I feel like should be a high priority and are not right now, as well as the goals that have the biggest impact on my life. In my case that fits with the things that are the most out of whack in my priorities.
6. Break down those main goalss into milestones by quarter, month or even week if you need to. So many people have a system of how this should work because everyone has different personalities and different styles.
The biggest thing is find something that works for you. If you find your self feeling like you have failed - reassess and start over. This should not be a once a year process. One of the most important things I did in 2009 is figure out what these areas of my life are and go through my GTD weekly assesment. If you find that you have a bunch of things to do in areas that are not your top priorities then it is time to reasses. There is nothing magical about new years other than the year changes. Improvement is a constant process that most of us go and thankfully practice makes more practice.
I also have to give a link to Chris Brogan's blog who has been talking about his process which I have found very helpful.
Happy New Year