Tag Archives: Ashley Ford

New Year’s Resolutions

26 Dec

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” ~Oscar Wilde

https://i1.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/151/339912423_4416699c99.jpgYup. It’s that time of year again. With the ending of 2010 and the bright new dawn of 2011 upon us, many of us are looking inward to what we perceive as our faults and what can be our New Year’s resolutions.

I’ll start: I need to figure out how to get more organized; I need to get more sleep and I need to cut back on the six-pack a day Diet Coke habit. Will these be my resolutions this year however? Probably not because I realize I don’t have the passion needed behind turning around these “bad habits”. Passion you ask? Why is that necessary? I have never been able to articulate why I choose some resolutions over others but today, I read a blog on leadership from Michael McKinney.

Today’s blog discussed the concept of setting goals as discussed in Mark Murphy’s book, Hard Goals. He reports that in a recent study of over 4000 workers, only 15 percent of them believed that their goals for this year were going to help them achieve great things. And only 13 percent thought their goals would help them maximize their full potential.

The problem,” says Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy,is that we are trying to execute goals we don’t really care about. The kinds of goals that lead to success ‘stimulate the brain in profoundly different ways than the goals most people set. In nearly all cases where greatness is achieved, it’s the goal that drives motivation and discipline—not the other way around’.”


The solution, says Murphy, is to create H.A.R.D. goals—targets that are:

  • Heartfelt—you’ve got to have an emotional attachment to your goal; it has to scratch an existential itch; you have to develop a heartfelt connection to the payoff.
  • Animated—goals need to be motivated by a vision, picture or movie that plays over and over in your mind.
  • Required—it needs to feel so urgent and necessary that you have no other choice but to start acting on them right here, right now. You need to place more value on the future than you do the present.
  • Difficult—goals need to drag you out of your comfort zone, activating your senses and attention.

Every goal you set needs to pass these four tests. Murphy devotes a chapter to each of these four tests. “The overwhelming majority of human beings have tremendous untapped potential but there’s nothing pushing them to access it. Setting goals that are difficult helps unleash the depth of that potential.”

This blog really spoke to me as this was the first year that I had truly met my New Year’s Resolution of “living fearlessly”. A year ago, I found myself in a constant state of regret…regretting what I didn’t do in the past because I had focused all my efforts on others and towards my career. I made the decision in December 2009, that 2010 would be the year of saying yes to the possibilities. Sounds easy right? For someone who is shy, a control-freak and a little gun-shy, this proved to be more difficult than I thought.

For me, 2010 saw a year of changing jobs and practice areas; finding love and losing it; battling chronic pain and facing a health crisis and in general, forcing myself to be a social butterfly even when every instinct told me to run and hide. Needless to say, this year was one of constant challenges. While I didn’t know at the time that I was following Murphy’s  H.A.R.D. principles, the goal of living fearlessly I had set for myself helped me through this year because I was passionate about not playing life safe as I typically did. I had promised myself, no matter what happened, I was going to go for it whenever I could. So, while I may have a few war wounds to show for my efforts this last year, I think the growth I have received both professionally and personally far outweigh those scars which will eventually fade with time.

Getting started doesn’t have to be overwhelming. For example, a goal of mine for 2010 was to run a half-marathon. Why was this a goal? Honestly, because I was told I couldn’t by my doctor. [Yes, the inner 16-year old still lives in me and when I am told I cannot do something, I immediately set out to prove whoever wrong]. But here’s the thing, I was passionate about it. So, I sat down and looked at my calendar and week by week put my training plan immediately into my calendar. I also joined two running groups which helped as well.

As Murphy state’s in his book, “First determine the timeframe for your goal—say a year. Then cut it in half and ask, “What must I have accomplished at the six-month mark in order to know that I’m on track to achieve the full HARD Goal?” Then cut that in half and ask, “What must I have accomplished at the three-month mark in order to know that I’m on track to achieve all of my six-month targets?” Continue to cut the time in half until you get to one week and then ask yourself, “What must have I have accomplished today in order to know that I’m on track to achieve all of my one-week targets?”


My challenge to each of you is to constantly make resolutions at any time of the year. Constantly challenge yourself and reevaluate your goals. Did I run my half-marathon? Yes, I did. In fact, I ran two within the course of 4-weeks which I never thought was achievable given some of my physical limitations. What’s next? Well, my goal is to accomplish an Olympic-level triathlon in the Summer of 2011. Am I scared? Do I have doubts that I can pull this off? Absolutely.  Am I going to go after this with everything in me? You bet. Again, my passion is there. If I can do it, you can too. I challenge you to find yours.

– Ashley Ford