I have a confession to make: I have a love/hate relationship with resolutions and the new year. Most people I know (including me) come up with the same resolutions every year – lose weight, save more money, exercise – but we fall off the wagon before turning the page on January. Why does this happen? I think it has to do with not having a plan.
This year Warren and I were inspired by Chris Guillebeau to try something different. Instead of making a list of habits we were going to change, we came up with outcomes we wanted and made action plans. Big difference!
Check out the video below (if you are reading this in a feed you may need to click over to view the video), and then read below for the details on how we set up our Resolution Retreat.
How to set up a Resolution Retreat
- Find a space away from your regular life to clear out distractions. I like thinking outside, but the cold rain of Seattle in January made that impossible. We chose to go to a local hotel and use their meeting room (you can usually negotiate this if you also stay overnight in the hotel or use their restaurant for meals, especially on a day when it is likely to be available – like January 1).
- Have an agenda and stick to it. We started with a review of last year – what went well and what didn’t – to put us in a the right frame of mind. Then we talked about our personal goals, our goals as a couple, and then worked on the business goals of Married with Luggage and MWL Development. From those goals (3-5 for each), we worked out action plans for each. It sounds like a lot of work – and it was – but we left the day feeling like we really had a roadmap for accomplishing what we wanted in 2010.
- Celebrate your hard work. Our retreat took an entire day, and we rewarded ourselves with a nice dinner and a night in a boutique hotel. But you could just as easily take a long walk together, prepare a meal together, or head out for some entertainment like a movie or concert. It just helps to let your brain relax after all that work.
The Outcome of our Retreat
By putting our heads together and hashing out what we wanted and how we could make it happen, we ended up with some really solid plans.
- We have a solid promotion plan for selling our house. It would be great to sell it right away, but we are also prepared to sell it later and have a contingency plan for renting it if necessary. I’m sleeping better now that we have this planned out.
- My consulting business for women entrepreneurs is being rolled into MWL Development so that Warren and I can offer small business advice and websites/blogs in a package deal. This also means we can work the same hours when we’re on the road, which is very important to us from a lifestyle perspective. This is a huge change for us.
- We have big plans for Married with Luggage this year, including increasing our traffic, revising our ebook to include video and other money-saving resources, and partnering with sponsors to offer great deals for those of you who want to travel as a lifestyle.
- Personally, we each have a few goals. I’m running the half-marathon in June and plan to revise my 3-day novel and pitch it to publishers. Warren is going to finish his Spanish course and ride in the Fremont Solstice Parade this summer. And we’re both committed to exploring more of the Pacific Northwest in the time we have left here.
- With plans in place, it makes it easy to move forward. We are on the same page, so I expect fewer disagreements over what still needs to be done before we leave on October 1.
I love that we covered personal, couple, and business goals in the same day so we could see how they all worked together to give us the life we want.
Tips for Your Retreat
- Chris Guillebeau has a great series on the Annual Review. You can do this anytime, not just at the new year (in fact, wouldn’t your birthday be more appropriate?). Check out his process here.
- If you’re in Seattle, check out the meeting space at Hotel Max. We got the Twitter room rate (follow them @hotel_max) and negotiated the conference room for free because of the holiday. If you choose to use a hotel, remember that everything is negotiable, especially when working with a locally-owned hotel. Ask for what you want and get creative! We loved that they sent a pet bed and treats to our room for Max.
- Make it public! What makes this better than the usual resolutions is that you have an action plan. When you tell people what you need to make your goal come true, they have an easier time seeing how they can help you. “I want to lose weight” is too general, but “I’m going to walk around the lake 3 times a week” may encourage a friend to join you for moral support.
Best wishes to you for a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year. Tell me more about your goals for the new year in the comments below.