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New Year's Resolution Success

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Kirk Ball by Kirk Ball + on Dec 31, 2013

The start of the new year often marks the start of New Year's resolutions and new goals. According to StatisticBrain.com, the top 3 New Year's resolutions are to lose weight, to get organized, and to save more/spend less. With resolutions being top of mind, I want to share two concepts I've learned that have helped me with prioritization, balance, and goal setting. 

The Wheel of Life

The wheel of life is a figurative wheel made up of 7 different areas, or "spokes". Each spoke represents an area of your life that requires your focus and attention. The 7 areas are:

  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Family
  • Career
  • Intellectual
  • Social

If any one of these gets neglected too much, or for too long, it will affect the whole wheel (your whole life). For example:

  • If you don't eat well or exercise (physical), it will eventually catch up with you and affect other areas of your life.
  • If you don't spend enough quality time with your family, it could eventually strain your relationships and affect other areas of your life.
  • If you don't have a sound financial plan, you will likely be stressed and eventually have a financial emergency, and it will affect other areas of your life.

In other words, we should all strive for balance, and the wheel of life puts life's main areas into perspective. I like to think about it like this: If one section of the tire loses air, the whole tire goes flat. But a properly inflated and well balanced wheel of life will allow you to travel farther and move through life with greater ease.

So which of the 7 areas are you naturally strong in? Which of the 7 need some work and more of your attention so that you can become better balanced? Examining the wheel of life will help you know where you need to focus, while also making sure you don't neglect the other areas. 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Once you have identified which areas need your focus and attention, it's important to have goals. The goals that have the best shot at success are "SMART" goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and with a Time limit. 

  • Specific – Be as precise and as detailed as possible.
  • Measurable – Attach a number to it. Make it quantifiable.
  • Assignable – Make sure someone is responsible for it and "owns" it (this will likely be YOU for personal goals).
  • Realistic – Is your goal possible? Do you have the time, money, skill, and other resources needed to make it happen?
  • Time limit – Give yourself a deadline for when it needs to be accomplished. A goal without a time limit is just a good idea.

Here are some examples:

Goal #1 - to be healthier (physical)

  • Specific: to lose weight
  • Measurable: 20 pounds
  • Assignable: I own it
  • Realistic: Yes, by losing about 1 pound per week
  • Time Limit: June 1

Goal #2 - to save money (financial)

  • Specific: to secure a rainy day/emergency fund
  • Measurable: $5,000
  • Assignable: I own it
  • Realistic: Yes, by saving $416.67 per month for 12 months
  • Time Limit: December 31

The Wheel of Life concept and the SMART goal acronym have helped me to achieve better balance in life and greater success at reaching my goals. I hope it proves to be helpful for you as well. Good luck and here's to a successful year!

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