Screw New Years. Start Goals On Your Terms.

Why I don’t do New Years Resolutions

I love the New Year celebrations.  I believe it mostly comes from my childhood because New Years has always been a big deal in my family.  Every year we get together as siblings with our parents and a few choice people we bring into the fold to have fun, enjoy laughs and ring in the New Year. But I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions.

New Years Resolutions are often empty promises we make to ourselves.  “This year I’ll [get healthy, slow down, travel more, etc]. We don’t go any further than making that promise in one sentence uttered sometime between Christmas and that fateful stroke of midnight.  As my Grandma liked to call them “A thin statement masquerading as an intention.” It takes more than than saying that statement to create real change.  

I plan in October/November and Execute in December

A few years ago I started my own tradition with making the best of the New Year.  I stopped starting my best work on January 1. Instead by the time January 1 comes around I’m already 30 days into executing on my new goals and ambitions. 

To start with I begin thinking about where I want to go in the next 365 days in October.  I look at all aspects of my life professional, personal, and my relationships. I contemplate where I want to improve and what may be a priority.  How many new properties do I want to bring into my rental management company in the coming year? How many books do I want to read next year? What challenges do I want to give myself?  In my important relationships what do I want to accomplish in the coming 12 months? I write down my list of goals and ambitions and I make sure I have plenty of them. I don’t pick just 1 or 2.  My list usually has around 30. You might think 30 is high but I pick that many for a very useful reason.  

Oh The Webs I Weave

Once I have my list I make webs.  This is my favorite part! If you think back to grade school in maybe 3rd grade when you were learning about writing short stories.  One of the tools we were taught were utilizing story webs. In the center of a paper you wrote the topic and then ran lines off of that center area where you wrote the setting, characters, problem, solution, etc.  It was meant to help you map out where your story was going before you started writing.

I still weave webs, though not so much for stories now days.  Each of my goals from my list becomes its own web diagram. The lines that come out from the center are the steps necessary to meet that goal or things to think about in relation to the goal.  I usually have about 5-7 offshoots on a web diagram. This is an absolutely crucial step, don’t skip it! It’s where your “thin sentences” become executable goals because you identify what you need to do to get from where you are to where you want to be. You’re creating a plan.  

These “web” pages become my constant companion for the next 365 days.  Yes, they are written on scratch paper, and yes it may look like my 7 year old wrote them but I don’t alter it. I don’t make it pretty, I don’t rewrite them.  They go in the back of my annual planner where I know I can reference them. And I will reference them. 12 times in fact. 

Constant Goals V. Execution Goals

My goal list is usually a mix of items that are year long goals (constant goals) and execution goals (items with discernible end points that can be achieved in less than 2 months realistically). 

Constant goals are: number of books to read, health/weight goals, learning a skill or language, etc.  These are items that are for the long haul of the year. They aren’t something that is accomplished in 7 steps and considered done.  They take a longer time commitment and consistent effort over at least 6 months. If possible breakdown your constant goals with deadlines.  I.e. If you have a goal to lose 20 pounds on top of creating your plan set some deadlines of lose. 10 pounds by April, 8 by September, etc. Having deadlines like that helps keep you on track with your constant goals because it adds the idea of a time constraint.  When we have all year, we’re more likely to put it off.  

Execution goals include: classes I want to create, marketing changes, marketing materials, administrative aspects I want updated in my company, etc. These are more projects than goals.  They have concise steps where executing on them in a certain order gets me to complete the project in less than 60 days. These are usually the bulk of goals list. I may have 2-3 constant goals but over 25 execution goals. 

The Lucky Four

The last step in my yearly planning is selecting the 4 lucky execution goals that get assigned to December (the first month in my goal year).  I usually pick ones that would be more beneficial to be accomplished early in the 365 days and/or ones that are rather simplistic that can be easy wins.  Easy wins are a necessity for keeping us on track, especially when the other goals may be more time consuming or more difficult. 

Each month I repeat this process.  I select 4 new ones to accomplish and make sure they are written in my month view for the planner. I do consider how busy my month is and any time off I may be taking when I pick the goals.  If I’ve got 3 speaking engagements and a vacation I may pick 1 larger goal and 2 smaller ones.    

I will admit there are times where I have a carry-over or two.  New projects come up, new opportunities and sometimes I don’t get through all my goals in a month.  I strive for all four to be completed but I am also realistic and understand the nature of my life and industry may only allow for 2.5 to be accomplished in 30 days. I don’t beat myself up for it.  I just make the carry-over ones my number 1 priority in the new month and work harder to get back on track. 

It’s All In The Planner (and Planning)

One of the big reasons I’m able to accomplish all this and execute on itl is because of the style of planner I use.  I use a goal-orientated planner. It’s not just a Day-Runner that functions as an appointment calendar. It helps highlight my goals for the year and month. Each month has a goal section where I can write the goals the steps for them.  The goal annual view helps remind me of milestones I may have wanted to hit (I.e. average 50 podcast listeners, etc). Other than the actually brainstorming the planner is the 2nd biggest contributor to my success. 

Once you have the planer the next thing is to schedule the time to accomplish them.  The first 90 minutes of my day are “project time”. This project is for executing on my goals.  Before I check email, before I answer my phone, before I do any meetings I have my project time.  Nothing changes that (or very, very little does). I even include 2 extra sessions on other days during the week. This forces me to start with what important (my goals) and work on those before I get pulled into any drama or urgency that exists in my world.

Keep In Mind

Resolutions are just thin sentences masquerading as intentions.

Set multiple goals and outline the steps to accomplish each.

Have a mixture of constant year long goals and project execution goals.

Assign goals to certain months.

Written by: Corina Eufinger CEO of Brio Properties/Owner CRC Investments/ Host of Passive Income Revolution Podcast