David Allen is well known for being the one who can ask just the right question. For an easy shortcut, let's follow his advice. First, he focusses on several areas. You can be brave and attempt them all at once, or just dip your toe in and pick a few. No one's watching.
He's brave and goes all the way at once. He asks himself the questions (that we'll get to in just a second) in these categories: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Family, Community Service, and Fun/Creativity/Recreation. Now, those are a lot of categories. What will yours be?
Choose the ones that are most important to you. Don't just choose what you need to make progress in. Be sure to choose one or two that you know you'll score well in. This is not about beating yourself up over how poorly you've done, it's about taking stock honestly to help you get to where you want to be in 2012.
First off, review what projects you completed in your chosen areas in 2011. Do you have more than you thought completed? Less?
If you don't have "enough," are you being realistic? Are you judging yourself too harshly? Or, did you truly have one of those years where it truly seems like nothing got done? As long as you evaluate yourself honestly, you'll come out ahead even if some of the answers are uncomfortable.
Now, a couple of fun questions: What was your biggest triumph in 2011? What was your wisest decision? What project were you happiest completing?
Next, let's try a couple that are a bit harder: What was your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2011? What was the biggest lesson you learned? And, finally, what do you need to do to complete any outstanding projects from 2011? If that last answer is a long one, be realistic with yourself. Break down any must-dos into workable steps. Make sure you aren't penalizing yourself for a few things left undone that really won't matter to you in the long run. Be gentle, but be realistic.
Finally, let's get personal for a moment. What compliment do you wish you'd received this past year? Taking that one step further, what compliment do you wish you'd had the courage to give? These are small questions in some ways, but remember that the positive feedback we give (and get) helps us shape our lives each day. With realistic feedback, all of our lives are much easier.
MOVING INTO 2012
Now, remember, these are questions more than resolutions. No one wants you to promise yourself anything unrealistic. Try to be honest with yourself so you can set realistic (and maybe even enjoyable) expectations for yourself for this new year.
First off, what advice would you like to give yourself now at the start of the year? Be brave on this one! What project would you be most happy about having completed at the end of the year? And, to get to the heart of things, what would you like to look back in 2013 and see as your biggest triumph this year?
Be imaginative but be honest. With some creativity (and some down to earth realism) you can come up with a goal that is not only achievable but that you can look back on and feel quite proud of.. No sense choosing one that is so unrealistic as to be painful. But, there's also no sense in choosing one so simple as to make reaching it feel boring. Try to get the balance that's just right for you. (And only you can know exactly what that is!)
Now, let's ask a few hard questions: What are you most committed to improving and changing this year? What undeveloped talent are you willing to explore? Who (or what) are you most committed to serving in a loving manner this year?
Finally, a couple that are a little easier (hopefully).
What brings you joy and how will you do more of it during this year? And, last but not least, choose a theme word for the coming year. A phrase is okay if you can't distil it down, but do try for a single word if possible. Remember, being able to quantify your goals is half of achieving them. So, being able to focus on a single word is one way to get your unconcious mind working alongside you as you create your new year!