This post first appeared around this time last year. I’ve updated with this year’s results and my Red Thread® for next year, too.
Yep. That time again. New Year’s Resolution time. Everyone’s goal-setting, theming, three-wording, and all-around resolving. Fun fact: when I was a Weight Watchers leader, all the new folks didn’t usually show up until the third week of the New Year. My theory? That’s when suddenly things didn’t seem so simple anymore.
But what does that have to do with you, and your 2020? Well, the same thing I learned back then. Finding an approach to your goals that works for you. That’s the only way your New Year’s decisions turn into actions over time.
So, how do we do that? Well, I realized that the Red Thread might come in handy here. (Yes, I get that maybe as the creator of the darn thing I could have figured that part out sooner). But here’s why: figuring out the Red Thread of your year gives you options. Different things to focus on that, taken together, all work towards getting you closer to what your goal is.
And one thing I know: the more options you have when times get tough, the likelier it is you’ll keep going because one of them will work.
Here’s how to find them:
1. Choose one big GOAL for the year.
If you could wave a magic wand and have one thing be different on December 31, 2020, what would that be? Maybe it’s a health goal or a revenue goal or a relationship goal or a professional goal. But pick one.
And don’t be scared about just picking one — I promise your brain won’t let the others drop. But you need something to help you make the hard decisions. When you have ONE big goal, and a tough decision to make, it’s a lot easier to say, “Does this contribute to my goal, or complicate it?” than it is to have to think through all sorts of interconnecting scenarios.
- My goal 2019 GOAL was: Write the book. I got a draft written and got a publisher, and it’s due to be out September 2020, so I consider this achieved.
- My 2020 GOAL is: Scale the business. I spent a lot of last year making sure my business had stability, but this year ahead is all about Scale. I want to get more reach for the Red Thread® while still living the life I want to live. That likely means a lot more one-to-many programs (like my Le Cordon Rouge Mastermind or the January Jump Start with Pamela Slim). It probably also means getting serious about creating a program to certify others in the Red Thread® Method. (Interested in that? Click here to be put on an interest list so I can keep you posted as things develop.)
- What’s your GOAL? This one should be easy (other than choosing a single one), as I’m guessing you already have a list of goals somewhere.
2. Define the one big PROBLEM to solve to free up the path to your goal.
More specifically, what’s the gap that has to close? Is it mental? Physical? Operational? (Hint: it’s not motivational. Trust your former Weight Watchers leader on this one).
By identifying the PROBLEM you need to work on to get your goal, you’ll also be building skills in other areas — and this, by the way, is how some of those other goals you didn’t want to give up get served. Hint: frame it as the kind of problem you LOVE to solve.
- For me in 2020, the PROBLEM I’m choosing is to close the gap between potential and reality. Choosing that as my main PROBLEM keeps me creatively looking for ways to get bigger without getting busier (since if I’m not careful, I tend to lapse into a time-scarcity mindset). Notice, too, how that mindset can apply to all sorts of things I want to do this year, not just scaling the business.
- What PROBLEM — that you love to solve — stands in the way of your goal? This one might be harder to come up with, as none of the usual New Year’s stuff really addresses this concept well. But here’s a tip: make sure it’s framed positively, as something you can DO rather than as something you are going to stop doing. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t give your brain a viable alternative to what you’re doing now, you’ll keep going on doing it.
3. Find your guiding TRUTH for the year
Your guiding TRUTH is the mantra, value, or belief that you want to guide how you approach getting your GOAL and solving your PROBLEM. This doesn’t have to be new. It can be something that is a go-to value for you. Choose something that will keep you grounded in what you believe to be true about you or the world. Hint: if you’ve chosen a theme or word(s) for this year, that can probably stand in for the TRUTH.
- This year I’m choosing a phrase that’s one of the underlying principles of my whole approach, that “What got you here will get you there.” In some ways, it harkens back (yet again) to my Weight Watchers days, where we used to say: “You have all the resources you need.” It’s a powerful reframe in those moments where you (I!) feel overwhelmed or inadequate. When I stop and think in terms of “What do I already have that can help me here?” I immediately recenter on something that makes me feel strong.
- What TRUTH will guide you this year? Make sure it’s something that can help you feel powerful in the face of the inevitable challenges that will come your way.
4. Commit to a CHANGE in approach.
Given your GOAL, PROBLEM, and TRUTH, what difference does that add up to? What one big thing do you need to learn or do differently to solve your problem and achieve your goal?
- For me, I’m reusing the one I chose last year, as it’s still relevant, and needed, this year. What is it? “Feel > think > act.” That might sound like a strange choice, since it’s what most people probably do already, but to be honest, I’m usually trying to do all three of those at the same time. When I get wound up, or stressed out, or frustrated, or…you name it…I tend not to separate those things out. Which means I tend to focus on what I want, rather than what I have. I start feeling like I have nothing of my own to offer and then get paralyzed with inaction. This CHANGE lets me feel whatever I’m going to feel in the moment, think back on my GOAL, PROBLEM, and TRUTH and then choose what to do. Will I always be successful? No, I’m sure I won’t. But it helps me anytime I find myself asking, “What should I do?”
- Now, what about YOU? What one big CHANGE in thinking or behavior will you make that’s different?
5. Finally, what ACTIONS will you take?
Now here I’m not looking for a giant list of to-dos. Just think through no more than three big, specific things that have to happen for you to make the CHANGE and achieve your GOAL. Hint: these are probably already in your plans for this year, as well. But choose three that, if you do them, will make sure the GOAL gets done. These can — and likely will — be flexible throughout the year. As you strike one off the list, add a new one in. The aim is always to have three things to choose from to work on to help you reach your goal. Remember: options get you through the tough times.
- My first three actions this year are to: Spend a full day planning and strategizing the details of my 2020 scaling plans (with the amazing Pamela Slim, who specializes in this), complete the first draft of my book, and schedule a working day with my colleague and coach Nick Morgan to work through an outline for my next keynote (yes, I do this work for others, and yes, I fully believe that coaches need coaches as much as anyone else!)
- What three ACTIONS will be the first steps to achieving your GOAL this year? You can be like Elsa and Anna in Frozen II if you want, and pick the “next right thing.” The only danger is that if you don’t feel like doing that one thing, you may end up having done nothing. That’s why I like to choose three things that I can choose from, depending on my mood, calendar, etc.
6. Put it all together!
With these pieces of your year’s Red Thread identified, you now have clarity on the types of challenges that are going to come your way:
- “What should I prioritize?” Your GOAL.
- “How do I know where to start?” Find the real PROBLEM you’ve identified in what you’re facing — the gap you’ve told yourself to look for.
- “How should I approach this?” Rely on your TRUTH.
- “How should I respond?” Look to your CHANGE.
- “What should I work on today?” Choose to move one of your ACTIONS forward.
And that’s it. Is it neat and tidy? Probably not so much, but each piece is, and that’s what’s useful. A list of resolutions can get overwhelming. A word or words may not tell you what to work on today, and you can drown in the details of a task list.
So maybe this year, don’t bother with setting resolutions. Find your year’s Red Thread® instead.This year, don’t bother with setting resolutions. Find your year’s Red Thread® instead. Click To Tweet
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