Mastering New Year’s resolutions

3 min read

The dawn of a new year signals a fresh start, prompting many to embark on the annual ritual of setting resolutions. However, the common narrative of abandoned goals by February raises a critical question: How can we make our resolutions stick?

Drawing inspiration from successful companies like Google and their use of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), this blog aims to offer actionable tips and instructions to revolutionize your approach to New Year’s resolutions.

Before we start let’s shed some light on what we mean by OKRs:

Objectives and key results is a goal-setting framework used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes.

OKRs typically comprise an objective and 3–5 key results (measurable success criteria that we’ll use to track the achievement of that goal). It’s important that the objectives are significant, specific and clearly defined.

These objectives can be supported by initiatives, which are the plans and activities that help us to move forward the key results and achieve the objective.

Finally, the key results should be measurable (e.g. count, amount, percentage, event) so it can easily be determined whether the effort we put towards achieving the key result has been successful. [source: Wikipedia]

So how do we go about adopting this framework to ensure our resolutions come to a successful conclusion?

1. Define Your Objectives:
Begin by establishing objectives for the changes you want to make. Whether it’s adopting a healthier lifestyle, enhancing your career, or prioritizing mental health, clarity on your objectives is key.

2. Establish What Success Will Look Like:
Once you have specified your objectives, you’ll have to set a measure of success, your key results. How will you know you achieved your objective, and perhaps more importantly, how will you know you are getting there?

3. Break it Down:
Once your objectives are set, break them down into specific action items with their own incremental key results. Assign deadlines to each to create a sense of urgency and accountability. Consider incorporating these tasks directly into your calendar.

4. Experiment and Iterate:
Embrace experimentation in pursuit of your goals. For instance, if mental health is a priority, set an objective like “Download an app and try meditation techniques for 10–15 minutes a day (finish by the end of November).” Break it down into key results and iterate based on your experiences.

Adopting OKRs in Your Personal Life

Companies use various approaches to uphold OKRs, and you can apply similar principles to your personal journey:

  • Anchoring: Share your plan with others, creating a sense of accountability. Invite friends or family to join you on your journey, fostering a supportive environment.
  • Consequences: Establish incentives for achievement and consequences for failure. Consider rewarding yourself for successful changes and outlining the repercussions if you fall short.
  • Check-ins: Regularly evaluate your progress and adjust your efforts. Schedule weekly check-ins to review and refine your life strategy. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate each milestone achieved. Recognizing progress, no matter how small, reinforces positive behavior and keeps you motivated for the journey ahead.

As we step into a new year, transcend the cycle of abandoned resolutions by adopting a strategic and holistic approach inspired by the proven success of OKRs. Define your objectives, break them down into achievable steps, and create a support system through sharing your journey. Experiment with purpose, establish incentives, and regularly assess and adjust your strategy. May this be the year your resolutions evolve from mere intentions to transformative, lifelong habits. Happy goal-setting!

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