Do you remember when New Year's resolutions started getting a bad rap?
I think it was around the same time people started thinking negatively about to-do lists, journaling, and goal-setting as well.
Whenever or however it may have started, setting New Year's resolutions for 2018 can still be extremely helpful as long as one recognizes what it is and what it is not —
It is a guide, a framework, and one of many strategies out there. It is not a perfect system nor is it an end-all and be-all answer to creating your best year ever.
And since it is essentially just a plan, it's still up to the person making the plan to take action and turn the resolutions into reality.
That said, here is a simple 2018 reflection and planning exercise plus a free 3-page printable.
01 | Ask, "What worked?"
One mistake many people make when making New Year's resolutions is failing to consider what accomplishments they have already achieved the previous year.
Think of different areas in your life such as your self and well-being, relationships, business, hobbies, etc. and identify the specific milestones that helped define 2017 for you.
Did you complete a big project? Learn a new skill? Grow your business? Start a new business? Overcome a difficult obstacle? Start a new relationship? Take that vacation you wanted? Develop good habits? Spend more time doing things you love?
Once you know what worked so far, you could build off these in order to make 2018 even better.
Bonus: "What can I work with or carry over to 2018?"
02 | Ask, "What didn't work?"
Another mistake people make as they enter the new year is to automatically continue doing everything they did in the previous year. Not only will this make you unproductive but it'll also hinder your growth.
Do you have limiting beliefs? Bad habits? Negative mindset patterns? Unhealthy activities? Underperforming products, service packages, or employees? Unnecessary processes? Redundant processes? Time-wasting tools, apps, or routines?
Think of things you can let go of, learn from, or even stop altogether.
Bonus: "What can I learn from and let go of?"
03 | Ask, "What can I trade?"
People who set goals (whether at the beginning of the year or any other time) are usually concerned with what they stand to gain — more money, a better version of themselves, more opportunities, etc. However, a crucial component of goal-setting is also recognizing what you're willing to give up.
In terms of the previous examples, you might be able to earn more money if you give up some time for leisure or entertainment, you might be able to become a better version of yourself if you give up your limiting beliefs, you might be able to have a better lifestyle if you give up staying in your comfort zone, and so on.
Bonus: "What can I give up in order to gain/attain/accomplish _______?"
Putting it together
This reflection and planning exercise for 2018 can be somewhat extensive the more you reflect and the more you plan. For this reason, I've created this free 3-page printable you can download and use. Just type what email you want me to send it to.
Printable Page 1
The first column of the first page highlights what happened in 2017 — your greatest accomplishment, your greatest lesson, your most memorable moments, and most importantly, what you are grateful for.
Listing all these is essential during this transition period because it makes you reflect on what truly matters in your life.
For those of you who felt like the past year went by too fast, now is the perfect time to evaluate your priorities and take a look at areas in your life that are doing well and other aspects that may need improvement.
The second column of the first page is dedicated for you to write down your goals for 2018 — a much easier task once you know where you're coming from and where you stand right now.
It’s divided into five categories: self and well-being, family and relationships, work or business, finances, and passions or hobbies but feel free to revise it based on your situation. Just remember to write them down as specific and measurable as possible.
Printable Page 2
Now that you've declared your goals for 2018, the second page of the free printable is where you can list down the actions you’re willing to take in order to turn your goals into reality.
It’s helpful to write down your answers to these statements in order to be more committed to reach the goals you’ve set in page 1. This can also serve as a guideline in creating actual action plans for each goal with set deadlines and schedules.
Again, these are just examples of statements that would help direct your actions throughout the year so feel free to tailor them to your specific needs.
Printable Page 3
The third and last page is where you can write what you want to do more of and less of. The beauty of this section is that it is extremely simple. In contrast to what I teach in the Goal Mastery Workshop wherein I walk you through how to set up a full-fledged step-by-step action plan complete with targets, tasks, subtasks, mental forecasting, obstacles and solutions, next steps, etc., you can still be purposeful using this "do more" and "do less" strategy without being too specific.
Now that you’ve taken the time to fill out this free 3-page printable, why not post it somewhere you pass by often such as on your fridge, mirror, whiteboard, planner, etc. This way, you can be reminded of the goals you've set and actions you’ve committed to doing all throughout 2018.
Share in the comments below: What are your takeaways from 2017? What are you willing to trade? What are your goals for 2018?