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New Year's Resolutions - Start with Why and Create a Theme

Updated: Jan 2, 2019

The end of the year and start of the next one is a great time to reflect. It is a time to set goals, or as we call them New Year's resolutions. It is a time of starting fresh; to kick out the old bad habits and bring in the new good ones. And, how many times do we find ourselves 5 months/5 weeks/5 days into our new "good" habit commitment, only to find we have regressed right back to our old "bad" habits once again. This leaves a feeling of failure, of not being successful and a general apathy for our new goals. Here is the good news! It isn't because we are lazy or uncommitted to our new goals that we lose focus on them, it is because we need a system, a process, a path to helping us to achieve the goal overall. Every year I put a vision board together. It is a visual reminder above my desk which reminds me of what it is I want. But, more than that it visually reminds me of not just what I want, but why I want it.

Simon Sinek presented a TED talk and wrote the book, Start With Why He illustrates the concept of belief in something and how to work toward understanding your purpose. It is not enough to just know What (your business does, you want ... etc), or How you will get it, he shares you must begin with the Why. Why is it you do something, or why you wanted to create new habits to begin with. For example, a person can say I want to lose weight, or I want to get my SPHR or SHRM-SCP, but we need to understand why it is we want those things. I want to lose weight, because I want to be healthier and see my children have children someday, or I want to get certified so I can be considered for the next HR leadership promotion in my company. A strong understanding of your Why beyond the What and How can make a significant difference in staying committed and achieving your goals. Still, understanding our Why, and What we want to do is sometimes not enough. We need a process, something that walks us through the next 365 days and helps us to achieve our goals.

I was recently introduced to Matt Ragland, who talks about this concept on his Youtube channel in, 2019 Bullet Journal Productive Planning: Achieve Your Goals & Make it the Best Year Ever. I found his process for breaking down your Why, What and How into Themes, Goals and Systems easily transferable into a workable process which can be used in both your personal and professional life. He breaks it down like this: Theme - Why it is you want to do something; Goal - What it is you want to achieve; System - How it is you are going to do it. In the business world, this resembled a strategic plan outline.

Let's take an example: ABC Training Co - A company whose expertise is in culture training for large organizations

Theme for the year - ABC Training Co. wants to provide a training product which was created for large organizations to smaller companies, because (why) they believe the training should be something EVERY company should have access to

Goals to support this theme - ABC Training Co needs to scale their training into an off the shelf product which can be used by smaller organizations with little access to resources and corporate trainers

Systems created to achieve the goal -

  • Q1 - find several companies to work with as testing organizations

  • Q2 - work with test companies and analyze the process and design a simple version

  • Q3 - develop process and implement with testing organizations

  • Q4 - evaluate and re-tool where necessary

Using these types of processes has been an incredible tool for us here in our company. It has helped with strategy and planning for our next year ahead. These systems can make your New Year's resolutions something that doesn't just last 5 days, but provides structure toward achieving the goals you set out to accomplish while helping to realize your Why for doing this to begin with.

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