A Quarter-Year Resolution
At 11:45 p.m. on December 31, 2017, millions of Americans will be mentally reviewing the past year in a rush to come up with a New Year’s Resolution or two. If you can barely remember what that resolution was on Valentine’s Day, much less made any progress towards fulfilling it, you are not alone. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions will have failed by February.
The common advice for successful goal accomplishment is to write down your goals, break them up into smaller goals so you can measure your progress, set deadlines, and revisit the list often. A great productivity website/blog/podcast, AsianEfficiency.com, goes further and advocates that instead of making goals for the entire year, set goals for 90-day quarters. Vague goals with no specific plans for implementation can easily be lost over the course of the year because it is difficult to envision a year. However, most people can imagine 90 days: 12 weeks: 3 months. The recommendation is to evaluate your eight major life areas, set goals for each area you would like to work on, and then focus on just one life area or on just a few goals in multiple areas each quarter by calendaring the steps you need to take over the next 90 days to meet them.
Career/business – What you do with your time to make money.
Finances/wealth – Managing your money.
Friends/family – Important platonic relationships.
Fun, recreation and entertainment – Guiltless, earned pleasure.
Health/fitness – Exercise and nutrition.
Love life – Your relationship with significant other.
Personal/spiritual development – Things you want to develop just for you.
Environment – Your physical location i.e. your house, city, state, country.
It is easiest to calendar goals that involve numbers. To meet my somewhat unambitious goal of taking 100,000 steps per month (hey, I had to start somewhere!), I calendared 3,334 steps per day or about 25,000 steps per week, easily tracked over 90 days. The same can be done with financial goals. For goals that do not involve numbers, a little more thought is required to quantify, dissect, and calendar the goal. For example, if your goal is to be more efficient at work, you will need to analyze and possibly research what will make you more efficient, and what steps you can take to improve in this area.
I found that setting quarterly goals using the eight life areas is more work up front but also more motivating as I checked off my mini-steps on my calendar, and more satisfying at the end of 90 days. I did not lose steam like I have with New Year’s resolutions in the past. Also, when I began working on my goals for the next quarter, I already had a list of goals that I brainstormed for the last quarter that didn’t make the cut, so it was much easier to set my goals the second time around.
If you need a motivating re-vamp to your New Year’s resolution strategy, I highly recommend giving this technique a try!