Make Your Resolutions On Purpose This Year

This time of year there is a lot of talk about New Year's resolutions, starting over, setting new goals and planning for the next 12 months. Despite the hype, it's a good idea to EMBRACE THIS PROCESS…it can be the most important and effective thing you do all year.

But beware… reaching your goals can actually do more harm than good over the long run. It can if you're pursuing goals that are "off" of your Purpose or Mission.

"On Purpose" goals are the only kind that will truly offer you happiness, success, and fulfillment. Time spent on the wrong mission and goals is time lost forever. Someone once said "Time is funny stuff…you save it by spending it wisely". Spend yours wisely by making sure your resolutions are "on purpose" this year.

Start by taking a look at the goals you set last year, your results, and how you feel about the time spent pursuing them. Hopefully you were right on track last year and reached goals that were on your purpose - goals you feel good about.

If you're not sure if you were "on purpose", it's not as difficult as you might think to diagnose a case of wayward goals. Common symptoms can include:
  • Apathy, not caring about others.
  • Letting the "small stuff" get in the way or bog you down.
  • Losing focus. Having a hard time deciding what to do next.
  • Substituting money, power, or fame for real happiness.
  • Allowing your identity to be shaped by outside forces.
So before you start setting your goals and making resolutions for next year, throw a couple of logs on the fire, make up a batch of hot cocoa, and take some time to sit and think and write about why you are here and how you should be spending your time.

Here are some questions to help you think "on purpose" about your goals:
  • What do you really love to do and excel at and why?
  • What was your best moment? Day? Week? Why was it so good? Break down the elements of each to find insights that might help shape your purpose.
  • If your life had a highlight reel, what would be on it?
  • What kind of difference would you like to make that would benefit others?
The answers you generate will shed some light on what your purpose or mission might be. They will also give you an acid test against which to judge your New Year's resolutions and goals.

There are dozens of books written to help you discover your mission. One of my favorites is called The Path - Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and For Life by Laurie Beth Jones. In her book, Jones gives you a simple fill-in-the-blank formula that helps you quickly create your purpose, and gives you a framework for knowing a good mission when you see it.
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Member Comments

Thank you for the information. I also just ordered the book through Amazon. Report
Good article. Report
thank you Report
If your life had a highlight reel, what would be on it?

Best way to figure out how you want the rest of your life to be like. decided on what you need to do to capture those feelings/accompli
shments, events, and so on.
Then plan your steps to get there. That is called backcasting. It gets you to where you want to be, :) Report
I usually make at least informal New Year's resolution, and I'm always setting goals. It just seems that the daily grind of working in a hectic job that does not give me a lot of personal satisfaction most days exhausts me emotionally and makes it hard to find energy to do the things I love and find most important. This is a problem that has gotten worse in recent years. I found this article very useful and I'm for sure going to check out that book. Thank you! Report
Losing focus. Having a hard time deciding what to do next. This is what would most likely drag me down. I have started and "failed"(that is the word I hear inside my heart) so many times that occasionally my kids are knownto parrot my felings to me. That is hard. With Spark though, I am considering it a good thing to pick myself up and try again! Today I took my bike to work and when I got off in the wee morning hours I did a 30 min ride! I am starting a streak to ride on the bike 30 min each day- TODAY! Report
I've set goals to raise children, graduate college, etc. But, never about anything else. I know this is something I am missing in my life - heck even my family is missing out. I want to do it. Maybe I can turn this thing called life around. My first goal is to enter my food and fitness daily. Okay, I have two goals now - that wasn't so hard :-) Report
In 2009, the times that I had energy, focus and self-discipline were those in which I was doing what I was made for. But they were too few between. I think I will take these few questions and write on them for a bit and see if I can make resolutions that help me focus on things other than weight loss. Report
Woohoo! We love hearing these things. I believe in each one of you and that you WILL succeed. Got get em'! Report
I love this article. The Holidays are the hardest times to get through, so we need all the help we can get. I plan to start 2009 much nearer my goal. Great article. Report
i wasn't planning on making any resolutions this year, but after reading this article, it inspired me to come up with a list, that I believe I can manage. THANK YOU!!
nancylee46 Report
I always find your articles very good thank you Report