Like me, are you sick and tired of the same old resolutions you make every January 1 (lose 25 pounds, get in shape, get that promotion at work) only to give them up–if you even remember them–by mid-February?
For January 1, 2017 here’s a novel idea:
This year, resolve to help your spouse, your kids, your significant other or any other extra special individual in your life to accomplish their 2017 resolutions.
Of course, you first need to determine what your loved ones’ resolutions are. Here’s a process I recommend:
Step 1: Sit down–away from all the hustle & bustle–with your spouse/significant other.
Have a frank conversation, just you two, to discover your spouse’s most important priority goals for the new year–career, personal and family. How you can help your spouse achieve those goals? Also, share your goals and priorities for 2017 and ask for your spouse’s help.
Step 2: If you have kids, you and your spouse should sit down with each offspring, ages six through nineteen, to determine that child’s personal goals for the year. (You know your kids best–it’s up to you whether to meet with each child individually or to meet all together as a family.)
1. I don’t mean to leave four and five-year-olds out: if they’re mature enough to conceptualize annual goals, include them.
2. If your teens are reluctant to cooperate, emphasize that the meeting’s all about helping them achieve their most important personal goals.
3. For certain, don’t ask teens to discuss their romantic interests! Your goal is to determine teen goals and aspirations, not their social lives. (No, your 16-year-old daughter is not going to reveal that ‘hot guy’ she’d really like to date!)
4. These parent/child sessions need to be low key, completely voluntary and pressure free. Most importantly, afterwards you and your spouse must demonstrate a ‘good faith’ effort to help each child accomplish the objectives they reveal.
5. For your kids, I’m talking about personal aspirations, near-term or long-term. Your 11-year-old son wants to make the Little League ‘Majors’ next summer. Your 17-year-old daughter needs to select the “right” college for her and apply next fall for acceptance in 2018. Can you instruct and practice baseball with your son? Can you help guide your daughter through college selection, application and request for financial aid?
Step 4:After your 2017 meetings with loved ones, go off by yourself and write down 2017 goals that were expressed by your spouse/significant other and by each child.
Step 5: After giving it some thought, for each expressed goal write down specific actions you might take to help your spouse or child to accomplish that goal. The end objective: for each individual a firm “Resolution Keeper Action Plan.”
Once completed, guess what: this New Year’s you will have made a firm commitment to help others meet their objectives rather than simply worrying about your own! Doesn’t it feel better to give than to receive? Your positive attitude and promise to assist loved ones will go a long way in helping them keep their New Year’s resolutions.
A couple of warnings:
1. Never attempt to tell a spouse or teenager what you think their resolutions should be. Resolutions are all about your loved one’s goals in life, not yours.
2. Do not be judgmental–if legal, ethical and not harmful to others, a loved one’s resolutions are OK.
To summarize, studies demonstrate that most resolutions fail–only 8% of us will accomplish all our 2017 targets. In setting your goals for the new year, keep three factors in mind:
* You can’t set resolutions to please someone else–this simply doesn’t work.
* Your resolutions will not be kept without a clear, concise, step-by-step action plan to reach your goals.
* You must take full responsibility for goal accomplishment. No excuses; if distracted you will need to work extra hard to get back on track.
There’s nothing wrong with also setting some New Year’s Resolutions for yourself. Your annual goals must be clear, concise, not too easy but not impossible to attain. It’s also a good idea to share those resolutions with your loved ones and to ask for their help.
So here’s a great idea for New Year’s Day: Sit down together as a family to share each other’s 2017 resolutions. Make a firm family pact of cooperation so that every person’s resolutions are accomplished. The intended shared message: “Each family member matters and we’re all in this together.”
A most joyous New Year to all from Middle Age Renewal Training and from our weekly Internet radio program, Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age.