My 2012 New Year’s Resolution Report Card

88% of all New Year’s resolutions end in failure, according to a survey of over 3,000 people conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman. Despite this dismal statistic, I’ve always been a strong believer of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I’ve taken pride finessing the art of New Year’s resolutions over the past several years. I’ve gone through countless iteration to craft the ‘perfect’ New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I was more concerned about the design of awesome-sounding goals rather than consistently sticking to them throughout the year. (Click here to see my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions)

I would score myself a C+,if I am completely honest with myself based on how many goals I’ve actually implemented this year. Like many others, I’ve made critical mistakes that precipitated this low score. So, in hindsight, let me share the good and bad from my 2012 New Year’s resolutions.

The Good

Holistic: Most of my in 2010 and 2011 goals were heavily focused on furthering my career aspirations. I lacked balance in my goals. I was becoming a successful professional, but there’s a lot more to life than that. In 2012, I started to establish goals from a holistic view where my goals were developed under six categories: emotional, intellectual, professional, physical, spiritual, and social. In essence, I was able to create a more balanced lifestyle based on these six categories. I don’t see these six categories as definitive, so I am thinking about modifying it a little bit for next year’s resolutions.

Public Promotion: Instead of keeping my goals to myself, I actively shared this with my family and readers on my blog. In this way, this ensured accountability and a sense of responsibility from my end. This compelled to me to some extent in aligning my endeavors to my goals. However, I realized though public promotion was good, it wasn’t strong enough to sustain my motivation.

The Bad

Vague Goals: Some goals I created earlier this year were vague and difficult to measure. For instance, under the emotional category, I had one goal that read, “I have become more empathetic and am able to suspend judgment and become more forgiving and generous.” This goal is a very important, lofty goal, but it’s hard to define “what success looks like” based on how this goal is written. Perhaps I could have been more specific around how my old behaviors have changed into new behaviors.

Lack of Reinforcement: Like a plaque of core values organizations create but rarely review, goals that I’ve set earlier in the year without any reinforcement ends in failure. I knew the importance of reviewing continuously, but failed to create a plan to share my progress with others. Without this review process, I noticed how my motivation dissipated throughout the year.

Disconnect with Big Picture: When I created these goals in January, I was in the midst of discovering my mission and vision in life. In hindsight, these goals generally seem to align with my mission and vision in life, but if I could make that connection earlier, my motivation probably would have been sustained. Daily goals need to fit into weekly goals; weekly goals into monthly goals; yearly goals into decade goals; decade goals into life-long goals. Without clarity and awareness of your internal architecture (which includes your mission, vision, and core values), you lack the engine of motivation to propel you to achieve it.

One of the biggest advancements made in 2012 has been greater self-awareness. I will continue to better myself in the remaining years of my life. Really, this is the beginning of the future!

As we are quickly approaching the end of 2012, how would you evaluate this year based on your New Year’s resolutions? What are some key lessons learned that you could leverage in making 2013 more successful?