When I was working for a biotech company, we had a marketing procedure we used to evaluate a product called SWOT analysis, which is an assessment of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The first two relate DIRECTLY to you or the product. The latter two relate to outside factors. We would run a SWOT on any of our products or programs that we were launching. I also ran a SWOT prior to opening my local fitness business, Core 95°, and I even ran one nine years ago before taking over as publisher of Natural Awakenings Long Island magazine.
I thought perhaps it might be a fun personal exercise to do for ourselves as it relates to our goals for the new year (even though, yes, I am opposed to New Year’s resolutions, by nature!). So, for example, if you desire to shed unhealthy weight that surrounds your organs and adds burden to your heart, how will you do it? What are the strengths that you have? Your first strength toward this goal is your starting weight! Yup, that is a strength. YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOSE IT IF IT IS TOO HIGH FOR YOU!!
For me, my strength toward this goal would be knowledge. I know that the slice of pecan pie I had last night, which may or may not have been topped with ice cream, was unhealthy … fattening even. I know some fat-free yogurt with some fiber and a drizzle of honey would have been a better choice. So, my strength is that I know better. Another strength I have is my schedule; I can carve out time each week to shop healthy. My third strength toward this goal is I BELIEVE I can do it.
As for weaknesses, willpower is one; I feel I don’t have much. Another would be the ideas I have trained myself to believe, like rewarding great jobs with food, etc. And the last weakness is that I can be a bit down at times and food often comforts that low or depressed feeling.
Okay, outside factors that can trip me up or help me: INSTAGRAM!!! Seriously, it is BOTH an opportunity and a threat. As an opportunity, I can go to social media for support with my photo of my kale smoothie or my three hard-boiled eggs for breakfast and get tons of heart emojis. The threat? All those amazing posts of holiday cakes, pies and goodies that are posted daily on social media telling me I am hungry even when I am not. Saying to me: “You deserve this three-layer cake that you see on Joan’s Facebook too. I mean you are as nice as Joan; go ahead reward yourself.” The social media threat to our health and our self-esteem is REAL folks!
Is losing weight not your goal? How about being more mindful? That can be assessed using a SWOT analysis too. How about career decisions? I have yet to make one without first creating a SWOT. We need to know as we launch a project or a better version of ourselves, what our strengths and weaknesses are going into these goals, and then we also need to know outside factors that could trip us up because when we know these things are out there looking to thwart our plans we can work around them, or, at the very least, be prepared for them.
I always say, “Fail to plan, plan to fail!” So, this new year whatever your goals are, run a SWOT analysis right before heading into your goal and be prepared for nothing but SUCCESS!
Kelly Martinsen, Publisher, NALI