Happy New Year to All! I must say that I am ecstatic about 2017 and all it has for me, our family and for YOU! 2016 was great, but I am expecting greater for the new year! With expectation, however, comes execution. According to Statisticbrain.com, 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, but only eight percent (8%) actually achieve them. What?!?! Eight Percent!!! Why is there such a vast difference between the percent of those setting resolutions and those who actually achieve them?
Well, I believe the biggest problem lie in the basic definition of the word itself. The root word of “resolution” is “resolve” which means “to make a decision to change”. Now although I would say that making a decision to change is the first step to change in the new year, but it definitely should not be the ONLY step. There is a major difference in “making a decision to change” and actually taking steps and creating a plan to ensure change ensues. For example, I can say all day long that my New Year’s Resolution is to lose 20 pounds in 2017, but if I have not created a meal plan ahead of time, focused in having a partner work with me in my exercise routine, and so on, guess what? I will lose weight the first week in January and gain it all back the second week. Statistics even tells us this… “75% of Americans who make resolutions only maintain it through the end of the first week”(Statisticbrain.com). WOW!
So how do you set goals that you can actually accomplish throughout the month, by the quarter and by the end of the year? Well here’s what we do:
- We ensure our goals are realistic. My husband and I learned this early in our marriage. Many goals sound good and even look good on paper like determining we will have lunch dates every week in 2017, but honestly, if we can just get monthly lunch dates in, It Is All GOOD! So, Marriage Goal #1—monthly lunch dates. Although we would love to have one big family trip and mini trips for the family spread throughout the year… “the way my checking account is set up…”(lol. Kevin Hart), not going to happen! One big trip it is! Some things may not be “doable” (now) no matter how desperately we want them to be. We have to be realists and know where we stand currently with our time, jobs, businesses and even finances; however, if you plan correctly NOW, you will be able to get more, have more and do more LATER.
- We break our goals down into actionable steps with dates. So, although we set goals for the year, we go back and break them down into monthly goals (or weekly and even quarterly goals depending on the goal itself). For example, if we are paying off $12,000 worth of debt this year, we go back and look at our monthly budgets and determine how much we will put on the debt from each paycheck (Side note: We plan our monthly budgets for the year at the beginning of the year. It works for us because we know before we get paid how and when we will pay off bill and it allows us to be on a schedule). Also, if we said we were going to read four (4) books together this year, by March 31st we should have read one book, by June 30th we should have read another book and so on…Planning on not just the “whats”, but the “whens” allows us to track and stick to a timeline.
- We are Accountable to each other (and to others). Concerning our family goals, we review our goals and celebrate when we pay off debt, as well as, discuss what we need to change in the budget when we get knocked off track. You can also get accountability partners for other goals. I am part of a great MasterMind Group that holds me accountable to my personal/business goals (along with my accountability partners). Find accountability partners, someone you can trust, who will hold you accountable to your fitness and health goals, business goals or even spiritual goals. Ensure it is someone you can trust who will actually tell you the truth about YOU (even when you do not want to hear it) while holding you accountable to your plans.
Being realistic, breaking down our goals into actionable steps with deadlines, and being accountable allowed us to reach 75% of our goals in 2016! I know you are saying, “well, it is not 100%”, but we were elated because we knew, one, Life Happens! Tenants move out during winter season leaving you to pay the mortgage for months (true story). Two, cars break down leaving you to stop making debt payment to “re-fund your Emergency Savings” (Hello!). And three, God’s purpose outweighs our plans every time (Proverbs 19:21). At the end of the day, if God tell us to do something else with our time, plans and even money (even if it was not on our “goals’ list”), then we will follow HIM…even if He has to drag me kicking in screaming. In the end, His purpose prevails and His purpose is always better than our plans!
Although we “aimed” in 2016, but only “hit” the bulls eye 75% of the time, I would rather plan and reach the goal 75% of the time, than not plan and hit the goal 0% of the time.
So, in 2017, set plans (See How We Plan for the New Year as a Couple), but ensure you are actually setting goals, which has more to do with “effort” and less to do with “intent” (resolution). Yes, I “intend” on Slaying Debt in 2017 (See our T-shirts), but I am creating a plan to actually accomplish them?
What are your goals and what is your execution strategy? Let’s make 2017 “The Year of Execution”. I know I am, will you?