Calm, Happiness and Balance

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On the first day of every year it is unbelievably tempting to lay down the New Year resolutions isnt it? It is the very first question asked by EVERYONE you stumble across in the beginnings of the new year and there is always unspoken pressure to come up with a list that is unusual, different and a cut above the rest. Isnt it curious that despite declaring grand plans for ones self, usually related to physical shape, size and well-being, beyond February no-one bothers to mention said resolutions again? The reason is simple, by the second month of the year they are a mere memory as very few people actually carry out and maintain their stated resolutions.

According to Mark Murphy, author of “Hard Goals: The Secret of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”, people set goals all the time but 70% never end up getting carried out in any significant way. There is no doubt that most of us are aware of conventional wisdom that tells us goal setting should be SMART (specific, measurable,achievable, realistic and time limited). However, Murphy says that the key factor in sticking with resolutions isn’t that the goals aren’t clear or measurable, its that people don’t care enough about them. He does have a point when you consider that so many of our New Year resolutions are connected to our eating and exercise habits yet so few of us actually implement the desired changes on a monotonously annual basis. Mark Murphy believes that goals need to be HARD – heartfelt, animated, required and difficult to be successful. A great example of this is aiming to quit smoking because you know you should as opposed to quitting because it means you will be able to play with your kids and watch them grow up. Its all about having emotional skin in the game.

My good friend Trudy is a Deputy Principal at a busy primary school, wife and mother of two and like many of us juggles a variety of balls, some of which inevitably fall to the ground at times. In January she came up with a plan of attack for the year and designed her very own manifesto for 2013. A manifesto is defined as “A public declaration of a plan or intentions” which covers it quite nicely as Trudy has declared to all that she is simply aiming for Calm, Happiness and Balance in her life. Although a manifesto could be interpreted as a rework of goals, it can be used as an anchor to remind you of what you are trying to achieve by using a number of simple words that can be written in opportune places  (diary, phone, computer or other device, steering wheel – very important if you are choosing calm, or fridge) to remind you.

What is your personal HARD manifesto for 2013?