THE BLOG
12/21/2015 11:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Redesigning New Year's Resolutions

Jamie Grill via Getty Images

I start at the end.

I ask, "One year from today, who will I be?"

With that question in mind I mindmap the year onto a large piece of white paper. Anything goes: If I were free of money, power, age, and limiting beliefs what would I dream up for myself?

In my first draft I imagine all possibilities of who I could become. Who do I want to spend my time with? What do I want less of?

It's fun. I play.

This is the first step of my three step process for writing New Year's resolutions.

1. Explore:
Begin with a mindmap.
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Then, I write a journal entry to myself. From the future...
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I ask myself, "Future Chris. How's he doing?"

I'll write something like, "Today is January 1st, 2016 (one year from today). I can't believe the years keep coming at me!..." I'll include a note to myself about how amazing the past year was, sights, smells, images, etc.

Here are some prompts I like to use to open up my mind:
  • Three things I'm most proud of in 2015 are: ____________
  • Three things I'm glad I did less of in 2015 are: ____________
  • I spent more time with: ____________
  • I traveled to: ____________
  • Words to describe 2015: ____________

2. Choose Projects

Next, I draw out my focus for the year -- eliminating the unnecessary things from the past year that didn't work (I've included a few resources at the end for help on this). One useful framework for focusing is Tony Robbin's V2MOM questions:
  • What do I really want? (Vision)
  • What is important about it? (Values)
  • How will I get it? (Methods)
  • What is preventing me from having it? (Obstacles)
  • How will I know I'm successful? (Measurements)

3. Execute
It's important that I create project on my calendar -- with due dates. And then I setup times to review my progress throughout the year. There are three types of checkin:

Monthly Checkin (to check overall progress) -- I schedule time on the first Saturday of each month to review my yearly resolutions. I set these dates for the entire year.
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Project based checkin: I add projects to Asana and Evernote. If a project is too big (as many of them are), I like to break them down into tasks no bigger than 1-4 hours.
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Reoccurring task checkin (i.e. the gym and yoga): I use a paper calendar. It's on my wall and I put an X for each day that I complete the task. You an print out these free wall calendars at http://print-a-calendar.com/

Recap: A Three Part Process
This year, create a lasting commitment for the upcoming year. If you'd like to use my process it looks like this:

  • Explore -- consider all possibilities for next year by drafting a journal entry from the future
  • Choose Projects -- decide on the most important projects
  • Execute -- set up a process to schedule your projects, and keep yourself in check throughout the upcoming year

Your turn! Who will you be one day from today?

How do you keep your resolutions?

Leave a comment, or tweet your resolution to me @castig to share your your tips for keeping New Year's resolutions.