We’re a few days into the new year and new decade of 2020. Goal lists and resolutions are written. I sincerely hope you haven’t given quit your goals yet. Hopefully you’re well on your way to successfully achieving these “dreams with deadlines!”

It’s well known that a majority will not succeed in reaching their goals this year. Come February, these lists will be abandoned for whatever reason, only to reemerge next year with new hopes to finally achieve them.

Imagine a graveyard, and all the headstones say something like “Here lies so-and-so’s dream of finally going after that job.”

Or, “Here lies Mary’s dream to be financially free.”

Or, “Anna was a good soul who didn’t honor her commitment to attracting her soul mate.”

You get the picture…Not to put a damper on all the positivity out there when creating those goals and resolution lists. It’s fun, it can be incredibly creative, but there’s a piece missing here. And too many people give up way to early and easily on their way to their best life. I’m here to help you stop that.

What’s interesting is, just like the enormous amount of info out there on personal growth, there are a lot of goal programs, info, and exercises out there! And some have been out there for a long, long time!

I just watched a movie on Zig Ziglar. His work has been published for decades! Yet, what’s fascinating is that with all the material available (the internet is full of great info! And some…not so great info!), you would think that more people would be living their dream lives!

What’s going on? What gives?

Can I give you a hint?

It’s you!

You are the determining factor to whether you set, go after, and reach your goals, or not. It’s all about you, you, and yes, you!

And, now that we’ve pointed the finger, and responsibility, toward you – now you have a choice. You can take responsibility for your choices from here on out and really go after those big dreams of yours, or not. You can keep quitting, too. That’s a choice, too. And one that you’re responsible for. No one else is.

So, this month, let’s you and I work together to get you over the quitting on your goals habits that you’ve got going on.

In this article, we’ll focus on what you want. What are those goals and resolutions you want to set? Let’s get clear on what those are. Because if you don’t have a target to aim for, you’re going to miss every time.

First, let’s do an exercise to clarify your values.

Clarifying your values is one component that is often overlooked when it comes to making a resolutions/goals list that stick.

What Are Values?

Your values are a vital part of who you are–right now. They change over time. For example, when you become a parent, your values change because you take on a new role (parent).

Your values aren’t what you think you should be. Then they wouldn’t feel authentic or congruent with who you are.

Your values act as a compass for your life. For example, how you relate to others, how you perceive things, and how you act.

When you are aligned with your values, life is more fulfilling and purposeful.

When your resolutions/goals are aligned with your values (and your values are aligned with your authentic self), you will be better prepared to meet or exceed accomplishing your resolutions and goals.

coaching exercise

The Values Clarification Exercise

There are a lot of ways you can clarify your list of values.

One way is to find a list of values on the internet and write down the ones that resonate with you. I don’t think that’s the best idea however because many people end up with values on their list that aren’t congruent with who they are. It reminds me of a menu–“I’ll take that and that and oh! That one!”

One way to come up with your own, authentic list of values is to think about some of your peak experiences–those times when you were absolutely lit up about an achievement, a moment, an experience–anything that lit you up.

Think back on those times when you were in flow–when you lost track of time. Think back on those moments that were poignant for you or exceptionally rewarding. What values were being expressed at that time?

For example, one of my clients remembered that she loved to go to museums but hadn’t in a long time because there was no one to go with her. I asked her about what was it about museum trips that she loved?

“I love learning about new things if I’m in a natural history museum. Also, I feel inspired by beauty if I’m in an art museum. Oh, and I love the feeling of being connected to nature when I’m in a botanical garden!”

Her response clarified her values of learning, beauty, and nature.

What else did she like about going to museums? “I like going with friends or family.” Another value to add to her list then was her value of connection and relationships she decided.

When she’s writing down her resolutions, she can check her list of values (and values can change over time so this is a good exercise to do every year) and see if the lists are congruent with one another.

A great question to ask yourself, after the Values Clarification Exercise is What’s missing in her life might be a good question to ask when she first sits down to list her New Year’s resolutions. Or, even more powerful: What does she want more of?

Let’s say she wants to have more fun. She’s done the Wheel of Life Exercise (for an in-depth look at the Wheel of Life Coaching exercise, purchase the e-book here: Shine! You Really Can Have It All!) and the category for fun and recreation she has ranked as a 4 (out of a possible 10 which is not-so-great!). She wants to put some more attention on this area of her life. This can mean going to more museums and trying to recruit others to go with her, joining a group of like-minded people so she can have more connection and fun in her life, taking up gardening or painting, etc.

What’s fun for her? What makes her heart sing and lights her up?

What lights you up? You can find some of your values within the answer to this question.

The next part of this exercise is to reflect on:

How will you align your resolutions and goals with your values?

coaching exercises

The Wheel of Life Exercise

Align your New Year’s resolutions and goals with the Wheel of Life.

Rank each area of the Wheel of Life (see image of WOL above or use your own areas that you resonate with) from 0 to 10 (0 being terrible to 10 being terrific!).

Which areas need your love and attention? Focus your goals on these areas.

The 95-Year-Old Exercise

Fast forward to the end of your life and visualize yourself as your 95-year-old self. What will you have accomplished?

See yourself saying to one of your loved ones:

 “I’ve lived a great life. I’ve______________and _________________and____________________. ”

What do you want your 95-year-old self to say?

What would be important to you for living an extraordinary life?

Here’s an example, “I’ve been pretty healthy because I ate pretty healthy foods and exercised, I treasured my relationships with others, and I was constantly growing and learning.”

So, there you have it: life coaching tips to help you get clarity on your New Year’s goals and resolutions.

Here’s to you and your success!

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Published by Nicole Nenninger

Nicole Nenninger MA Psychology, MA Marriage & Family Therapy Nicole is a coach (life and relationship), counselor, author and course instructor. She understands that the relationship you have with yourself reflects the overall quality of your life. In addition the relationship you have with yourself affects the relationship you have with your partner and with others. Nicole helps women in midlife who struggle with self-esteem and confidence, life purpose, life balance, motivation and direction, relationship issues, break-ups, and more. Nicole lives in a beautiful coastal town on Long Island, New York with her handsome husband and soul mate, 2 dogs and a cat. Her 4 children are young adults living their best lives. She loves running, reading, learning, kayaking, and going to the beach.

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