What Have I Been Up To? My New Year’s Resolution for 2016


8 out of 10 people fail in achieving their new year’s resolution. 36% percent of the people don’t even get through the first month.

What happened to my last year’s New Year Resolution?

The same that happened every year, I forgot about until it was almost the New Year and I got to thinking about My New Year Resolution again.

I realized that after the 1st or the 2nd week of January had passed, I was so caught up the monotony of life that I forgot to my “why” and eventually I forgot about my the New Year resolution.

New Year Resolution

What have I done to ensure 2016 is going to be Legendary?

I created an visual representation of my New Year Resolution similar to the picture above.
I enrolled in an online class to learn how to be a better writer and I was acquainted with the pre-writing process.

According to the lecturer, pre-writing is the most critical and yet the most over-looked step in the writing process.
As I dug deeper in understanding this process, I realized that most of the time I had a faint idea of what I wanted to write about but lack of planning or structuring the main message meant putting in a lot of time re-working what I wrote and sometimes abandoning what I started with.

What if I applied the same process to my New Year Resolution for 2016?

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
– Melody Beattie

However setting goal is just a facet of a brilliant diamond, a single facet is not enough for the diamond to sparkle but nonetheless important.

Is your New Year’s Resolution congruous or in harmony with your inner desire?
After all why would you want to put in time and effort in achieving something that adds little value to your life ?

You are unique, why should your goals be any different?

What each person wants in life is unique and influenced by a variety of factors like a person’s current situation [mental, physical and emotional] as well as their life experiences.

The goals of individual who struggles to make meets end will dramatically differ from an individual who has relative financial stability but longs for a meaningful relationship.
Also as each of these factors changes, so do a person’s desire, needs, wants & goals.

The beauty of time is that it does not discriminate.

For time, everyone is equal and everyone equally gets 24 hour each day. It cannot be stored or saved, it can only be spent.
Finding out what you want v/s what you need can help you focus your energy and efforts in area that need immediate attention. Life is about setting priorities, the right priorities.

Exercise Your Mind: Finding Out What You Want?

Free writing is one of the techniques I picked up while taking the course.
In summary, you set up a 5 minute timer and start writing anything and everything that comes in your mind  and then stop when time is up.

The key is you don’t stop or pause even for a second, if you cannot think of anything type “I am unable to think of anything” or “This is a stupid idea”. Spelling mistakes don’t matter and the backspace key does not exist.

When you are free writing you remove any sort of a self restraint and tap into your sub-conscious.

At the end of my free writing session which I titled “What Do I Want to Achieve in 2016”, I came up with a list of things.

I was consciously aware of most of the things on the list but there were a few things I observed that surprised me.
For example: Financial security was my top priority or worry however I was no longer as much concerned about having a better job.

In short I was content with my present job but at the same time very much concerned about my financial stability if something tragic and unexpected happened to me.

I highlighted all the points and made a list [99 in total]. As I went through the list I observed most were either repetition or related to each other and I grouped them together in a spreadsheet.

“You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.”

Now I had my groups in place and a list of things that I wanted to do, but I could not do everything, at least not all of them at the same time. Also staring at a list was counter-productive for me as it made me feel overwhelmed with so much work that I needed to do.

“A picture is worth thousand words”

Now that I had a detailed list, I wanted “the big picture” that I could look at to remind myself of my goals that I set for myself. I used an excellent mind mapping tool that not only allowed me to create an over-view of my goals but also showed interdependency between task.

In the image representation below, I created a mind map of a goal  to show the inter-dependency of tasks as well as an over-view of the entire process of getting a book published that I could think of in a matter of couple of minutes to give you an idea of how easy it is to look at an image than read a list.Mind Map - Being An Author

Up until this point if you think that the process is too lengthy and cumbersome, then you are absolutely right, I too felt the same, but as I stated earlier, prewriting is the most critical and yet the most over-looked step in the writing process and it was at this point I understood why is overlooked even though being such a critical step.

What you cannot measure you cannot manage.

Each weekend I set aside some time and just take stock of the things I accomplished in the entire week, and I compare it with what I had planned to complete from my previous week’s notes. This help me measure my progress.

Then I go over my mind maps and pick an area that I would like to work upon and make a task list out of it. Some tasks would just take an hour; others would need to be done daily.

I don’t store them in my head I make a To-Do List for it.

It is important to measure your performance.
For example: One of my goals is to eat healthy and still lose weight and the way to do it is to track what I eat (I use My Fitness Pal for that). Recording what I eat not only helps me keep a track of my calorie intake but the logging also helps me measure my performance through the week.
Find ways to measure your performance, automate if possible.

How Much Progress Have I Made?

To be candid, I haven’t made much progress. But as each week goes by, I realize that time is fleeting and the next day I try to push myself a little harder than yesterday.

When I go through the progress I’ve made and compare it against the things I planned on getting done, I am holding myself accountable. It also helps me get realistic of the time frame required to get things done.

Most importantly it keeps me focused on my goals and every time I think I am having an off day, I push myself just a little bit harder knowing well that I have a long way to long and now is just the beginning.

If you’ve made it so far, then you are genuinely committed to achieving your goals.

Before you get started with the free writing, ask these questions to yourself and think about it for a couple of minutes. Do not restrict your thoughts and then start with the free writing.

  1. If I die today, how would I like to be remembered?
  2. What will it take to be the kind of person I would like to be remembered as?
  3. How do I go about it?

In Summary:
  • You are unique, why should your goals be any different?
  • Exercise Your Mind: Find Out What You Want
  • You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.
  • A picture is worth thousand words
  • What you cannot measure you cannot manage.

Related Topics:

5 Principles Of Getting Things Done.
What Are The Daily Habits of Successful People?

Suggested Additional Reading:

How to Free Write? [Detailed description of free writing]

3 Surprising Benefits of Free Writing in the Morning

11 thoughts on “What Have I Been Up To? My New Year’s Resolution for 2016”

  1. Hi Josh
    I read your post.
    I like the idea of putting my thoughts down on paper on what i want. The chart you put up was good, makes you able to understand better what you are talking about. i personally could never keep a resolution so this year i havent done anything. there is a LOT i need to do. lol. your post was informational.
    what you cannot measure you can not manage,I love that.

  2. New years resolutions are always a great way to start off the new year. I seem to fall behind a little right out of the gate, but it tends to motivate me and drive me harder.

    I love how you talk about the sub concious mind and how you should tap into what you really want. It’s so true. You bring about what you think about and it can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your life!

    Excellent post here with great graphics! I look forward to stopping back soon! Take care Josh!

  3. What an amazing article, I found this super helpful, thank you!

    I normally just make New Year’s resolutions and then kind of forget about them until it’s February (LOL). This article really showed me that my goals need to be sell thought out firstly, and then the steps need to be laid out in detail. That’s my biggest problem, my goal isn’t well-defined enough, and then the steps to achieve them aren’t either.

    The other problem is to keep your goals realistic, what are your thoughts on this?

    1. Hey Andrea,

      Thank you for visiting my site and I happy that you found this article helpful.

      I think we all struggle with keeping realistic goals especially if there is a lot of things that we want to achieve in life [not that there is anything wrong with it]

      While there is simply no formula or thumb-rule to keep your goals realistic I usually consider the following factors when setting a well defined goal.

      1. Current Resources To Achieve My Goal [ Time, Money, Knowledge, Information , Skill]

      2. The current level that I am in right now and the level I need to be at.

      Usually these 2 will give me a pretty good idea of the time frame I need to set to achieve a goal.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      P.S: I posted another articles on How to Set Realistic Goals in which I describe in details on how to set reasonable and realistic goals and achieve them.

  4. Hi there!
    Found you site through WA! To be honest, I have stop thinking of my “yearly resolution” since don’t know when as usually what in my “wish list” was out of my control… you know, for example I wanted to find a boyfriend and get married..? 😛
    Anyway, after joining WA, I have valid resolution for 2016 which I have the control (some parts), could keep track, could draw out a mind-map the next objective/ missions I want to achieve and so-forth. So, ya, after reading your post, it gave me an urge to write down mine.
    I better start jotting down my resolution for this year before I totally forget about it!
    Thanks for sharing! 😀

  5. Very inspiring website! This is so me all the way. I’m always setting resolutions and not seeing them through. That’s why I find this website to be very inspiring to reach those goals that I am trying to obtain. I needed this message today because I’m struggling in my current goals that I have set for myself. This is what we all need to pick us up when we fall down.

  6. Great post. At some point I was a part of the 8%, not by choice, but at the end of each year when looking back, that was the result I got.

    Fortunately I decided to use the strategy that you mentioned and broke the goals up into smaller chunks. Needless to say, I was no longer overwhelmed. The process of ‘following through’ became much easier as time went by:)

  7. New Years resolutions are tough. Quite a few people have them, most fail. Sometimes I wonder why people wait until the new year to set a resolution. It comes back to the phrase, why put of until tomorrow what you can do today. With that in mind, I think my most successful goals are those that were set on a whim. I decide to do something, and just do it.

    I like your idea of setting the timer for 5 minutes and just writing. I noticed you have write and publish a book as one of your goals. I’ve written a few works and self-published under a pen name. A while ago, I found a program called write or die, which puts that concept into work. You set the time you want to write (I do 15 minute increments), then go at it. No breaks, no stopping, no distractions. What I find is it helps me concentrate on the task at hand. It’s so easy to be distracted by stray ideas and go off to surf the internet researching.

    After using the write or die program for awhile, I found my mind automatically starts to focus and I’m able to filter out distractions more effectively.

    Good luck with writing your book!

    1. Hey Renee,

      That was a very nice way to explain one of the benefits of free writing. Intriguingly I often thought that I needed some sort of a milestone start time to get on with my task but it turns out, I am not the only one 🙂

      Thanks for the visit and I hope you come back again 🙂

  8. Hello, I can relate with you on this topic. I, as everybody, like to make goals for next New Year.
    One thing what I learned that if I do not write down my goals on clean sheet of my notebook and I do not follow how it goes, all my enthusiasm disappear.
    I need to be accountable for myself.
    As you told, it is not good to have a lot goals.
    I think that it is best to pick a goal, which fascinates and makes feel me good. Checking day after day a progress keeps on track and it does not let to be lost in day routine.
    Thanks for inspiring article, good luck with your endeavor, Nemira.

  9. hello there
    was fooling around, looking for new year resolutions on line as my new year resolutions have already failed and almost a different memory when your site came up.
    l have enjoyed your post and like your resolutions and the steps you have laid out to achieve.
    l will take some of your tips, start measuring my progress to be sure what l have achieved and what not.
    Thanks for reminding me to re/check my new year resolutions and try to keep them alive.

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