The Secret to Reaching Your 2016 Goals

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Oh goody! Another goal-setting article. Maybe THIS will be the one that actually sticks. Maybe THIS one won’t be the same regurgitated advice you read every single January.

Ever wonder why bloggers and magazines can get away with publishing the same New Year’s Resolution content, year after year?

It’s because every December 31st, when we look back at that year’s resolutions, we realize we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do. At best, we only got halfway there. At worst? We abandoned our well-intentioned resolutions by Valentine’s Day.

In other words, it doesn’t work.

This year, why don’t we try something different?

I’ve got two new goal-setting techniques that’ll shake up your 2016 planning (and give you a fighting chance of actually reaching this year’s goals).

The Desire Map

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte is a method that reverse-engineers your goals by first identifying the ways you want to feel on a daily basis. If the underlying purpose of setting goals is to feel good, why not start with the feeling and work backwards from there?

Using this method, you work through all the ways you don’t want to feel — tired, bored, uninspired stressed-out — and slowly drill down to the specific ways you DO want to feel.

These differ wildly from one person to the next, and you’re encouraged to get as detailed and specific as possible.

Once you’ve identified these “Core Desired Feelings (CDFs),” you plan your yearly, monthly, and daily goals accordingly. The idea is for you to start feeling the way you want to feel more of the time. ALL of the time. Starting today.

For instance, say I set a goal to attend my favorite yoga class once a week, every week in 2016. If I follow the traditional method, that’s all I do. Set a goal, try to accomplish it, and either succeed…or don’t.

But why? WHY do I want to go to that class every week? Because…I want to feel fluid and strong, like my body is expressing its full potential.

If I start with those feelings instead…well, the world is my oyster. What things can I do that make me feel that way? Running. Hiking up a mountain. Making out with my husband. Taking “computer breaks” to stretch out my wrists and elbows. And yes, that yoga class.

This way, I don’t have to wait until that once-a-week class to feel that way; I can work things into my day (every day) that help generate those CDFs.

And what happens when you feel the way you want to feel? You’re happy. Which is the whole point.

Sound too touchy-feely? Then check out this next method.

Essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a book, a philosophy, a way of being. It’s not something you DO; it’s something you ARE.

Instead of spreading your efforts over many activities, chores, and priorities, you spend some time identifying the one or two that are most important, and let everything else fall away.

You can imagine, this is easier said than done. It means giving up or saying NO to lots of good (even great) opportunities. It necessitates some big trade-offs.

When it comes to goal setting, an Essentialist only picks ONE GOAL to focus on at a time. So for 2016, instead of asking, “How can I do it all?” ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing I need to do?”

This accomplishes two things:

1. It clears away the mental clutter and decision fatigue that come with taking on too much.

2. It will dramatically increase your chance of success. Essentialism forces you to gather all your resources (mental, emotional, financial, time) and focus them like a laser beam on one goal.

Either way, the message is clear: less striving.

How ’bout just enjoying yourself this year instead of working so damn hard?

That’s a resolution worth keeping.

Written by Sam

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