Several years ago, I stopped making "New Year Resolutions." Now my focus is on "Organizing Principles." "So what's the difference?" you may ask. Resolutions are specific, behavioral goals you want to achieve. Organizing Principles, at least how I define them, are areas in your life you want to generally improve. So for example, I may ask myself, "What 2 or 3 areas of my life do I want to be better in 2014?" It's basically a commitment to focus time and effort on these 2 areas of life. What I like about this approach is that there is no failure, and it allows for more creativity and flexibility as the year progresses. So for example, a New Years Resolution might be to lose 20lbs, or go to the gym 4 times/week. If you don't meet that goal one week, you might get down on yourself and begin losing momentum, or you might use it as a justification to completely slack off, telling yourself that you'll start over next week, etc. If you're anything like me, you can see where this is going. Whereas, if you choose a couple of areas of life to focus on and help organize your decision-making, every decision is an opportunity for success.
This year I picked 2 organizing principles. The first one is getting out of the house for active family fun. My children are fairly young, and we've been somewhat house bound since they were born. Now, as they get a little older, and our youngest is slowly giving up her naps, we have more opportunity to get out and be active. When we have free time, I use this principle to decide what to do. Two activities we've begun are Sunday morning roller-skating lessons, because the girls got roller skates for Christmas, and bike riding, now that I replaced my old bike that was stolen several years ago.
The second principle involves building the behavioral consulting branch of my business. What this means is that almost all the free time I have at work is devoted to doing something towards that end. So now I'm working on this blog, for example. The bottom line is that you use these principles as guidelines for how to organize your positive, creative energy and free-time over the course of the year, without overly focusing on specific outcomes.