Anyone who knows me well knows that I love goals! I love setting goals, I love envisioning the future, dreaming big and trying to catch up with what’s possible.

My clients and staff know that I come prepared with worksheets, with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with wellness wheels, with to-do lists, with calendars etc. Every Monday, for me, is an opportunity for a fresh start, to reassess how I performed the previous week according to the goals I set and benchmarks I assigned. So, when the New Year rolls around I’m usually ready to rock with all kinds of suggestions and prescriptions for New Year’s goals or resolutions, that are fueled by my own.

But, this year was different. This year I haven’t felt the push or tug of New Year’s resolutions or feel them percolating as much as in previous years. What he started to notice when I sat down with a pen and paper was that rather than resolutions, goals for the end of 2019 were what seemed more accessible, more inspiring. As I drilled down into this even more and looked at my end of year 2019 goals I notice how much I’d been living this year in line with my values, my needs and my strengths. This has lead to my achieving more of my goals and sticking to my resolutions in 2018 than ever before. So now, moving into 2019, there is less desperation, less fear-based goal setting, less shoulds than ever before. I’ve always been driven by my healthy superego, telling my what I should be doing. But now, I had to listen a little deeper, and it’s quietly telling me that I am doing well and it’s nudge going into 2019 is much more subtle, but the lessons seem important to highlight.

Let your values stear your goals

We all know what we should be doing. We are all too familiar with what we should be doing because it’s according to these things that we value and judge ourselves and it’s with this stick that we beat ourselves up with. It’s easier, kinder and more effective if we ground our goal setting in our personal values – this way we have the wind at our backs when we need a boost to get up hill.

As we map out our values, on paper and keep them in our awareness, we can begin let those guide your natural unfolding. This is how we go with the grain in terms of creating New Year’s resolutions that both have more profound meaning but that also have a much higher probability of being actualized.

My top five values (as of this post) are integrity, quality relationships, growth, excellence and adventure. This year the two that naturally stuck out to me as needing additional focus are quality relationships and adventure. So I’ll be aligning even more with both of these moving forward and planning a lot of my world around these two values. In part, I’ll be planning some weekly trail running, hiking, camping adventures with groups and friends both locally and also planning some bigger trips and adventures (Grand Canyon, Cabo, and other places) with friends throughout the year. These are some of the things I’m resolving to do this year that are not just fun and challenging, but are based the things that matter to me most and give my life the most meaning. It is with ease that we can move toward things that are fun and meaningful once we’ve identified and planned accordingly.

Functioning in our strengths toward getting our needs met

In addition to prioritizing our values, it’s important and helpful to understanding how orienting toward our needs and functioning in our strengths can profoundly impact how our real unfolds.

When I say we should know what our needs are and try to get those met, I mean we should know them in a way that if someone stops us on our street and asks us our top 5 needs we can rattle them off. Mine right now, as they can fluctuate somewhat, are for growth, competence, respect/self-respect, humor and belonging. If we are also able to utilize our strengths (my top ones right now are creativity, insight, inspiration, determined and altruistic) then we have a pretty amazing Venn diagram to overlay on different life domains when we sit down and really look at what is desirable and what is possible in 2019.

If there’s something in your heart that you’ve wanted to do for years, make 2019 the year that it happens!! If that guitar you bought last year weeps in the corner waiting for you to pick it back up.. do it!! If the Grand Canyon is calling your name but you broke your knee last year, allow your values, needs and strengths motivate you (me) to get back into physical therapy so you can run and train for this epic adventure. Viewing our year, our goals and our resolutions through the lenses of values, needs and strengths is as much physics as it is psychology. It’s a response to Newton’s Third law of motion. Maybe our values, needs and strengths are the “equal but opposite force” required to actualize our goals and possibilities.

Run this through your filter and what’s discussed here aligns with your values and needs then maybe, for you too, this is the year to take decisive action and make 2019 the year that it all came together, with ease.