Welcome to 2018! For many of us, January signifies a new beginning. It’s the month to hit the reset button and set our New Year’s resolutions. The sad fact is however, that the vast majority of resolutions will fail. (A 2017 study on New Year’s resolutions found that 41% of American’s actually make resolutions while just 9.2% of people felt they were successful in keeping them. Source)
So, why do resolutions fail? I believe there are two main reasons.
Firstly, that most resolutions are not truly meaningful to us because we don’t give them enough thought and attention before we make them. They’re not based on what really matters to us, what we stand for or believe in, or on our authentic desires. Instead they’re very often based on fulfilling superficial, short-term wants rather than intrinsic, longer-term needs that will ultimately help us reach our highest potential.
Secondly, most resolutions are quite selfish and of limited consequence to the world beyond the self. In a culture that pathologically reveres monetary and material success, good looks and thin bodies above all else, most resolutions tend to be about ‘me’ instead of ‘we’. They’re about improving our own status, position, looks, wealth or health, sometimes even at other people’s expense.
So, what’s the alternative to a New Year’s resolution in 2018? I believe the answer is to adopt a Purpose Project – a project that is meaningful to you, that truly matters and that is consequential to others based on the following definition of purpose.
“Purpose is a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is both meaningful to the self and consequential to the world beyond the self.” William Damon, Path to Purpose.
Read more in The Purpose Project sample here
Whether you undertake a personal purpose project or one with your partner, family or team at work, the following questions will help you scope out the project and set parameters for it. I recommend journaling on each of these questions before distilling the answers into a plan you can refer to each day to keep you on-track.
- What is your Purpose Project? What do you want to achieve?
(Write a statement of what the project is. E.g. I will test the viability of doing a degree in anthropology. I will hold my own photographic exhibition. I will…)
- Why is this project important to you?
(The answer to this will reveal just how committed you are. Would you die for it?)
- What is the worst-case scenario if you don’t fulfil your Purpose Project?
(Get dramatic. Would you die if it’s not fulfilled?)
- What does your life look, feel, taste, sound, smell like as you are fulfilling your project?
(Where will you be? Who with? Doing what? How will you feel?)
- What do you need to give up in order to bring your project to life?
(What holds you back? What projects/habits/people/activities do you need to stop so you have the space to achieve your intention?)
- Which of the 12 Purpose Practices are most important to adopt in helping you achieve this Purpose Project? Refer to the book.
(Review the practices and choose the most important intentions.)
- Who is going to be impacted by your project? How will they be impacted?
(Family, clients, employees, co-workers, suppliers, society, environment)
- What are the daily promises you make in fulfilling your project?
(What are the habits I need to adopt day-in-day-out?)
- What are the first three steps you need to take to start fulfilling your project?
(Doing research, booking a class, writing a short action plan?)
- Who can help you fulfil your project?
(Who do you need to engage to help you on this journey? Suppliers, partners, funders, coach, family?)
- How will you know when you have fulfilled your Purpose Project?
(What will you have achieved? How will you be feeling? What will others say?)
- What are the milestones you will set for this project?
(What are the stepping stones, dates, measurements to establish?)
- What structures and support systems do you need to put in place/use to ensure you achieve this project?
(Use of diary, daily reminders, goal setting app, recording notes etc.)
Take the time this January to turn your New Year’s resolution into a Purpose Project instead so you can look back in December and see just what you’ve achieved and the impact you’ve made.
Here’s to a purpose-driven and prosperous 2018!
PS Here are some things to help bring your purpose project to life in 2018:
- Buy your own copy of The Purpose Project at any online bookstore here
- Order 10+ copies and start your own book club with your friends or co-workers and receive the bonus e-journal. Order here
- Order 100+ copies and give them to your staff as gifts for 2018. Receive the bonus e-journal and a purpose consultation with Carolyn. Order here
- Order 1000+ copies and give them to your staff, customers, suppliers as gifts. Receive the bonus e-journal and a keynote/boardroom talk from Carolyn. Order here
- Book Carolyn for Private Purpose Coaching, Workshop your WHY days and Keynote Speaking. Click here