New Year’s Resolutions, Part 2: The Annual Preview

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Ryan Day Coaching

Welcome to the second half of our two-parter on New Year’s Resolutions.

I hope you got a chance to think about the ten Annual Review questions from the first part, and if you didn’t, here they are again. While you’re at it, check out this guide that will walk you through the whole process – The Annual Review AND Preview.

Remember – this Annual Review process is critical for reflecting on where you’ve been, gaining insights into exactly what you want to achieve in 2024, and nailing down why you want to achieve those things.

The Annual Preview

Last week, we briefly discussed the concept of The Annual Preview, which is the other half of this comprehensive resolution-setting process. 

I know I already gave you 10 deep questions, but I’m going to give you one more.  Before I do that, though, I want you to go back and read your answers to the first ten questions. 

Now, considering everything that you wrote down as part of your Annual Review, answer this last question. 

At the end of 2024, what would you like to say you’ve accomplished?

Write down anything and everything you can think of, but be as specific as possible with each outcome you want for yourself and why you want that outcome. 

Because health is my forte, I’m going to use some health-related examples to show you how specific I want you to be, but the concepts apply to any area of your life.

Example 1: By the end of 2024, I will lose 30 pounds so I can be healthier and feel more confident in my own skin. 

Example 2: By September 30, 2024, I will add 10 pounds of muscle so I can feel stronger and lower my risk of common ailments like diabetes and heart disease.

Example 3: By June 30, 2024, I will be consistently eating at least three servings of fruits and vegetables each day so I can feel more energized and improve my digestion.

Each of these examples:

  1. Sets a timeline, 
  2. Says exactly what outcome you want to achieve, 
  3. Includes a measurable item (pounds of muscle, servings of fruits & veggies), and 
  4. Gives a reason why.

Now – take some time to do this yourself. Don’t limit yourself to a specific number of outcomes – just write down what comes to mind.

Finished? Awesome. Now onto the fun part – setting goals

Goal-Setting Process

If you’re anything like me, setting new goals gives you a rush. Something about the possibility of achieving something new is exciting and ignites a little fire in us.

The problem with this fire, however, is we only have a limited amount of firewood (read as: motivation). After a few weeks, the fire goes out and any progress we made toward our new goal or resolution goes out the window and we revert back to our old habits.

Not this year though. Using the process we’re about to discuss, we’re going to establish a system that will allow us to look back on 2024 this time next year and feel proud that we stuck to a resolution.

Step One: Pick a Rabbit

We’ll use one of our examples from above to demonstrate how this process works, but before getting into that, take a look at the list of outcomes you just wrote down and pick one. It’s important that we only choose one because it prevents us from chasing too many rabbits and ending up with none. 

We want to chase one rabbit and catch the dang thing. 

After you catch that rabbit, you can start chasing another one. If you try chasing two, more power to you, but I’m not fast enough for that.

Whichever one you pick should meet the following criteria:

  1. It can realistically be achieved within the allotted time, and
  2. It will give you the most “bang for your buck”. In other words, by achieving it, you open the door for improvement and happiness in other areas of your life. 

Number two is a little confusing, so I’ll give a few examples to ensure we’re on the same page. 

  1. Improving your health might allow you to produce more at work or spend more meaningful time with people you love. 
  2. Improving a relationship with a family member might rid you of anxiety and improve your overall well-being and sense of happiness. 
  3. Taking control of your finances might make you feel more empowered, less anxious, and provide you new opportunities in other areas of your life.

Now, find the one outcome you wrote down from our final question that meets these criteria. 

Staying in the health realm (because nothing will improve your life more than taking control of your health!!), we’ll use Example 1 from above to walk through this together, “By the end of 2024, I will lose 30 pounds so I can be healthier and feel more confident in my own skin.”

Alright, step one is complete. We have locked in on our rabbit.

Step Two: Determine the measurable actions you need to take 

The critical part of devising a plan is determining the actions you need to take in order to achieve the desired outcome.  For example, you’ll never have $1 million in savings if you don’t save smaller amounts of money over years and years. Saving is the action. 

The second part of this step is making sure that you can measure the action. Staying with the saving example, you would need to measure exactly how much money you need to save each month in order to reach $1 million by some predetermined date. Then, at the end of each month, it is black and white whether you saved that much money or not. Because you can measure it, there is no gray area – it’s a hit or a miss. 

Back to our health example. If we have 12 months to lose 30 pounds, that means we need to lose 2.5 pounds per month. This is very doable for most people. 

Now, exactly how do we do this?

This can vary widely from person to person, but let’s take a generic 250-pound male who doesn’t exercise, eats a diet consisting almost entirely of highly processed foods, and has no real ailments of note.  

For him, three actions that would make a huge impact for this person: start eating whole foods, walk more, and lift weights twice a week. 

Let’s call these three actions, “bunnies”.  And similar to the rabbit, we’re going to chase one bunny at a time. They’re a little slower and easier to catch, so we’ll catch those first. 

Step 3: Devise a Strategy

If this were my client, I’d have him first focus on eating more whole foods. To do that, I might give him a list of whole foods and have him shoot to eat three foods off that list each day.  

See how that’s measurable? He either eats the three foods or he doesn’t. 

After he does this consistently, he’s caught the first bunny and we can start chasing the next one (increased steps). After getting his step count up consistently, we’d be onto the third one (lifting weights). Quickly, we’ll say that by the end of February, this dude is eating at least 3 whole foods a day, walking 8,000 steps/day consistently, and lifting weights twice a week. 

I’m confident that if this person was able to consistently perform these three actions (catch the three bunnies), he’d have no problem losing thirty pounds by the end of 2024 (catching the Big Rabbit).

Step 4: Reflect and Correct

While I’m confident our avatar could achieve his weight-loss goal, I’m also pretty confident there would be some speed bumps along the way. 

To hold yourself accountable, set a reminder in your phone for the first of every month to look back at the last 30 days and objectively assess your consistency and progress.

Take inventory of whichever actions you deemed critical to your success. Have you been consistent? If so, GREAT. What made it easy for you to stay consistent? Do more of that.

Have you been inconsistent? If so, no sweat. Dig into exactly what or who made it hard to be consistent. Address the issue. Get back in the swing of things. There is a discipline component to this after all.

Wrap-Up

By figuring out the specific actions you need to take to achieve your goal, you’re distilling the larger goal down into bite-sized, daily steps. You’re quite literally conducting an ~Annual Preview~ of your year-to-come.

Every day you complete the required action, that’s a win, and you’re moving forward. That said, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. It’s annoying to hear, but you really do have to trust what you’re doing is working and will ultimately lead to your desired outcome.

As always, I’d love to help you with this – all you have to do is ask.