New Years Resolutions have never been particularly useful for me. Quite frankly, they’ve always felt vague. Something along the lines of “lose more weight” or “do better at work” has never been helpful to me. Sure, I could go about making these a bit more refined: “lose 10 lbs. in a month” or “launch a new project by Q1″ but these always feel more like goals than resolutions to me. Even though 2010 will go down as the first year I’ve ever kept to a resolution (I rid myself of my soda addiction), it would be hard to argue that a 1-in-30 track record is anything to be proud of.
Thankfully, a blogger named Chris Brogan has suggested a path that I have been using as my guide to plot each new year. The idea is to pick three words to act as a pillar or a lighthouse for your year. These three words should embody what you hope to accomplish; they are ideals that you weave into all of your actions. Last year, I used Action, Cement and Team (see the image above for my reasons why). This idea of ACT was extremely helpful in 2010. It lead to me setting more ambitious goals, it forced me to get myself out there more and drove me to improve my efforts at working within a team setting. For 2011, I want to build upon those efforts and try to take things up a notch. Without further ado, here are my three words for 2011:
Focus – I tend to want to be a part of everything, to have some small part in everything that I possibly can. While this can lead to a great overall picture, it can keep you from really putting your fingerprint on a few key initiatives. In the coming year, I want to let go of everything and really commit to making something happen. I want to be more specific in my efforts, but I also plan to be more ambitious in the tasks I look to take on. I’m looking to focus (pun intended) on better quality work on bigger projects rather than having a little part in every last thing.
Target – Goals are great, but as I’ve just said, I want to take things to the next level in 2011. With this in mind, I want to shift my focus to targets and try to bundle my smaller goals into over-arching targets that guide my day-to-day efforts. I set several goals for myself in 2010, but without an overall focus they occasionally felt more like everyday tasks. I want to begin to find more meaning and effectiveness in my efforts by setting my sights on larger targets that will help me make the most out of my time. One of my biggest challenges has always been saying no, but by knowing what my targets are, it will become a lot easier to see if a task or goal is something I should undertake. I want to up my game this year and a bigger game requires a better game plan.
Real – Over the past few years, I have seen the line between personal and professional lives blurring. Social Networks have enabled people who were once only involved in our work life to peek into our personal side. They also give our friends and family a window into our working world. For so long, I’ve felt like I’ve had two personas, “Work Michael” and “Personal Michael.” In 2011, I want to try to bring these two halves together and just be the real me in every aspect of my existence. If done right, I believe this has the potential to make me more effective in both pursuits.
This three-word philosophy has been surprisingly effective for me over the past two years. I hope you find the idea useful. I think you will be surprised just how helpful these guideposts can be when compared to more traditional resolutions. Thanks, as always, to Chris for the idea and feel free to share your three words below if you are feeling brave!
Here’s to a productive and fulfilling 2011!