#1 New year, True Me?
New Year, True Me?
2024 has just begun, and perhaps you’re still thinking about your New Year’s resolution. You might consider losing those 5 kilos, spending less money, or creating more structure in your life, to name a few examples. As we slide into the new year it’s common to reflect.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a roadmap to why and how you should use Strengths-based goal-setting strategies for your New Year’s resolutions and finish it off with some additional tips too!
“New Year, New Me” is an age-old phrase that echoes in the minds of many, and encourages people to identify areas for self-improvement and resolve to do things either better or differently in the upcoming year. These resolutions, just like the ones mentioned above, are noble efforts and stem from good intentions. But guess what? They are usually not very effective. In fact, a study has shown that only 46% (!) of people who make New Year’s resolutions are successful (Norcross et al., 2002), meaning that more than half of the people who set a goal for the new year fail. We know, it’s shocking.
But if you’re honest to yourself, how often did you stick to your resolutions till the end of February at least?
Surely, you’d think that there should be a better way to do this. After all, it’s worth looking back at the past year to see where you can grow and develop further. This should be the starting point to tie your goals and intentions to. However, when we talk about “growth” or “development”, we mainly think about what we still need to fix, things that are wrong with us, or stuff that didn’t work out last year. What we rarely do, is take time to ask ourselves what went well. “When did you feel that you were thriving?” Or “Can you remember a moment that you succeeded and it felt nearly natural?”
Focusing on a positive outcome and areas that you thrive in, that’s the essence of strengths-based goal-setting. It’s a different approach to goal-setting that we’d love to tell you more about! Rather than overcoming shortcomings and weaknesses, this goal-setting process recognizes that true growth can be achieved by building on what we’re already excelling at. It taps into our natural talents, interests and capabilities, allowing us to set goals that align with our authentic selves. Furthermore, it pushes you to grow by taking on challenges, which requires applying your strengths in new ways.
Why does it work? Because setting strength-based goals will boost your intrinsic motivation. In the first place because you set goals that resonate with your intrinsic passions and talents, but in addition, the freedom to choose goals that match your strengths and interests reinforces your autonomy. You simply do things because you find them important and you get satisfaction from them. The motivation comes from you! This will make you strive harder, put more energy into your goal and make you more likely to achieve your goals. And achieving goals that are close to yourself are very pleasing to your state of mind.
Imagine that you really enjoy meeting new people and it feels natural to you to chat to strangers. Your manager complimented you twice last year on how smoothly you built connections with clients. Sticking to your resolution or achieving your goal of attending 5 networking events in 2024 will suddenly be a lot easier… and more fun! After all, this goal feels personally meaningful and resonates with your core strengths.
Thus, the knife cuts both ways: Strength-based goal-setting leads to more dedication and success, and when we achieve our goal, it pays off more. So, that’s why we’d like to challenge you to shift towards Strength-based New Year’s resolutions. Of course, we’re always here to help you along the way, so we’ll provide you with a roadmap and some tips that will help you make those resolutions and go into 2024 smashing!
Identify the tasks you performed last year with ease, excellence, and enjoyment. Reflect on the past year and pick out the moments when you felt successful in a natural way. These activities are clues that you’re using your talents.
Going forward – ask yourself the following questions.
What is important to you?
What changes do you want to see?
How do you want to grow?
These questions will help you formulate goals for the next year.
Tune into your dominant strengths to see what type of goal suits you. It’s important to set goals that do justice to your strengths. Why? Because goal-setting is different to everyone. For people with talents such as Focus, Discipline and Futuristic, goal-setting feels more natural in general. But these more steel goals are not pers se effective for others. For instance, for people with Adaptability or Ideation talents it might feel less natural to set goals, because it feels rigid or constrained to operate in such a way. There are different perspectives on goals and how we reach them. But you’ll have guaranteed more success if you keep your strengths in mind. Two people with different strengths can achieve a similar goal, but both will be more successful if they choose a method that suits their strengths.
Some hacks to find goals that suit your dominant domain best:
💁🏻♀️ Do you have a lot of Relationship Building talents? Try to create others-oriented goals and leverage these talents to enhance collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Having goals with others in mind will feel less selfish and bring you more energy.
💁🏻♀️ Do you have a lot of Executing talents? Try to create action-oriented goals and leverage these talents to drive projects forward, meet deadlines, and achieve tangible results. Having goals that are measurable will make you feel more productive.
💁🏻♀️ Do you have a lot of Strategic Thinking talents? Consider setting ‘Big Picture’ goals: set objectives that align with long-term vision and strategic targets.
💁🏻♀️ Do you have a lot of Influencing talents? Try to create impact-oriented goals and leverage your ability to reach far with great volume.
Consider whether your goal is action-oriented or outcome-oriented. Action-oriented goals focus on specific steps and behaviors, emphasizing the journey rather than fixating solely on the end result (e.g., committing to working out three times a week). On the other hand, outcome-oriented goals revolve around the desired result, allowing for flexibility in methods employed (e.g., aiming to lose 5 kilos over the next 4 months). The endpoint is emphasized with recognition that different approaches may lead to the same result.
Craft SMART goals to stay on track. I think we’re all familiar with this framework, but it truly works when setting goals. Your goal should be Specific, Mesurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. Here you can find more about it. This approach provides you a structured approach, helping to clarify success, focus efforts, and use time productively.
Apply your strengths to this goal. For instance, if you’re naturally inclined to seek significance, challenge yourself to drive initiative that not only highlights your individual achievements, but also contributes to the broader context. A suitable goal could be: Utilizing my Significance strength, I will spearhead and execute a high-impact marketing campaign, driving substantial brand recognition and market influence next quarter.”
Keep (re)adjusting your goals and challenge yourself. Nobody ever said that achieving a goal is easy. We have to understand that achieving a goal is rarely a linear line to success: it twists and turns, pressing unexpected challenges and opportunities. So when you’re experiencing a setback, try to consider how your strengths can be optimally utilized in the face of changing circumstances. Your strengths are like versatile tools in your toolkit, so when one tool doesn’t work to reach the goal, maybe it’s time to look in your toolkit again and see which strengths you should bring out to play. Don’t see obstacles as a blocker, but more as an opportunity to change the route to success!
Some final tips from our side:
Tip #1. Congratulate yourself along the way. Break down your long-term goal into smaller milestones. Each achievement reinforces the feeling of empowerment, so buy that cake or open up a nice bottle of bubbles when making progress towards the bigger goal. Rome wasn’t built in one day either, right?
Tip #2. Seek feed-forward from others. Instead of asking for feedback (aka. reflecting on what already happened), ask for input or suggestions for improvement in the future. By looking forward, you can already anticipate potential obstacles and thus see what strengths you can deploy to overcome them to achieve your goal.
Tip #3. Apply this to your team. Encourage your colleagues to recognize and use their strengths more often and help them achieve their goals too.
Strength-based goal setting is about what is important to you, how you want to grow, and how you want to become more of who you are. So let “New Year, True Me” be your mantra for 2024. Give more attention to the unique person that you already are, and make resolutions that will ensure you become even more of that incredible someone!
Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld Lang Syne: success predictors, change processes, and self‐reported outcomes of New Year’s Resolvers and Nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397–405. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.1151