Goals, Planning, and Resolutions

As the year begins to wind down and Thanksgiving allows for some additional time for reflection, I find myself looking back on the year that has been and what the following year may bring.  It provides a time to look at both my personal and business life and examine what worked or didn’t work in the prior year as well as the opportunities that lie ahead.  In past years, I have typically put together both personal and professional goals for the upcoming year.  I have never been someone who has done a New Year’s resolution.

One of the things that happens when we set goals or resolutions, myself included, is that these don’t get accomplished.  Our follow-through doesn’t happen for any number of reasons, usually these can be traced back to commitment and discipline. The other primary reason is that we have no purpose for attaining the goal. The purpose is the “why” we are pursuing the goal.

As the authors point out, “Discovering the why happens when you look at the past, the present, and the future. What are your past circumstances that you need to learn from? What is your current reality? Where do you want to go from here?” Figure out your “why” and you will be much more likely to achieve you goal.

A Different Approach

I decided to try something new this year.  As I was thinking about some of my goals for next year, I pulled a book from my bookshelf that I had read a few years ago but had not tried.  The book is titled One Word That Will Change Your Life. It is intentionally short- written to be read in 49 minutes. If you highlight your books as you read them like I do, it may take you slightly longer!

The concept of the book is simple.  Instead of trying to come up with goals that can be hard to define and that often fade away early in the new year, the authors set out to identify a simpler approach- identifying one word that provides clarity and directions for your life for the next year. Think of this one word as your vision or theme for the upcoming year.

We don’t reach our success for any number of reasons. The flaw in our approach to achieving well-intentioned goals is that we believe we can reach our goals simply setting goals and exerting a certain level of effort and willpower.  We are convinced that with more work we can reach our resolutions and goals. It creates a yearly cycle of trying and failing. It becomes two steps forward, one step back.  One step forward, two steps back.  We end up not accomplishing what we wanted and wasting a lot of effort and time along the way. This can lead to not wanting to try the next time.

One particularly important point the authors identify as another mistake we often make is: “we set to-do goals instead of setting to-be goals.” Success becomes measured by what we accomplish in contrast to what we become. Connect your “why” with what you want to become.

Finding your one word provides a simple, laser-like focus and driving force for each of the six dimensions of our lives: spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, and financial.  The word you choose can revolve around one or multiple aspects of your life that you want to improve, or feel is out of balance.

Words are powerful.  You have probably heard someone say something that either affected you in a profoundly positive or negative way. The words we feel affect our attitude, the way we speak, what’s in our heart, our relationships, and our thoughts and actions.  The one word you find for yourself will change these and other ways and provide clarity and focus to what you want to attain.  We live in a busy, time-crunched world that needs some clarity and focus to point us in a positive direction.  We could use something that removes the noise and provides meaning to what we are trying to accomplish.

So, you’re probably asking at this point how to come up with your one word. Without giving away the entire book (you need to read it to get the entire message from the authors) I will provide the questions to ask yourself to help decide what your one word will be.

Finding Your One Word (Your One Word Finding You)

Answer the following questions:

What do I need?
This isn’t about what you want, but rather what you truly need. What ares of your life are in need of the most change and why?

What’s in my way?
This helps identify issues or obstacles that need your attention- they are keeping you from getting where you want to be. What is preventing me from having what I need?

What needs to go?
Oftentimes we are held hostage by by things that are preventing us from moving forward to a higher level of living, both personally and professionally. These include past mistakes, fear, bitterness, and unwillingness to forgive ourselves or others.

To begin answering these questions create a quiet space and time with no distractions, away from the busyness of your life. The book goes on to explain how to live your word.  Living out your word is the exciting part of the process.

As you go through these questions, it is also important to identify the “why” behind the word you identify. Once you identify the “why” you will have identified a word that has true meaning to you. That creates the power to align and live your life guided by this one word.

Going through this process myself, I kept coming back to a word that will provide greater clarity and direction for me in the coming year.

My word for the year (drum roll please!) is…………TRANSFORM.

I selected this word for four reasons.

First, I want to TRANSFORM my health and my fitness level to a point it has not been in a long time. My wife and I have been disciplined about working out and eating healthier for the past few months. My “why” was partly because a recent checkup (which I hadn’t done in awhile) indicated some of my health numbers weren’t in the proper range which was a wake-up call for me. I had considered myself to be pretty healthy only to find out I could be healthier. The other part of my “why” was that a change needed to be made in order to accomplish my future goals- with a long future being the key!. To me, it all begins with health and wellness.

Second, I want to TRANSFORM my life by sorting out what is really important to me and what direction this leads me in terms of work and life interests.  As a retirement coach, I help people figure out what they want to do at this point in their life.  From working with clients and doing more work in the retirement coaching area, I believe there are additional ways to express myself, my skills, and my interests.  I want to identify and define this direction next year.

Third, I want to TRANSFORM my business by figuring out how to extend the reach of retirement coaching- helping people plan their retirement lifestyle and what their purpose will be- to a wider audience.

Fourth, I want to TRANSFORM the lives of those I guide on their journey into retirement. Reasons three and four are connected. There are some ways I believe this can be done which provides motivation to keep moving in a positive direction.

The journey to TRANSFORM in 2020 will be exciting and empowering!

Identifying the one word in our lives can be especially valuable during our time in retirement. Retirement, for many, is a huge transition filled with uncertainty and change.  Finding your one word during this transition can provide clarity and focus as you navigate your future. What is your one word for 2020?

If you are thinking about retirement, or have started your journey into retirement, consider identifying your one word.  This may help you find your path during your Encore.

Let me know if you identify a word and how living the word is going. I’d also like to hear if you have tried this in the past and how it worked for you.

If you need any assistance identifying your path in retirement, feel free to contact me.  I’d enjoy working with you to create your Encore Portfolio– your lifestyle in retirement.

Here’s to finding your one word for transformational change in 2020!