I see the New Year as a great opportunity to raise the bar and start as you mean to go on. I’ve always been a big advocate of new years resolutions on both a professional and personal level; in fact I opened the doors to my marketing consultancy on 1st January 2015 for that very reason – providing the perfect opportunity for a fresh start!
It’s estimated that around 60% of new years resolutions fail, psychologists put this down to a number of reasons, including the fact that many people set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions. I also think that if you set yourself too many resolutions, they can become unmanageable and you find yourself cherry picking – doing the easiest ones first and then leaving the more difficult ones behind.
To make resolutions work it involves changing behaviour and doing things differently, so here’s some tips that might help you in thinking differently about setting some resolutions that you will achieve in 2018:
- Set SMART objectives (or resolutions) for yourself – if you want to make a change then set yourself SMART objectives / resolutions – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, t By following these steps it is easier to determine how you are going to achieve the desired change and how you are going to measure success. Here’s an example of a SMART objective for work: ‘reduce the average number of emails I send each week by 30%, by the end of June’.
- Map out your milestones – I am a big advocate of critical paths and project planning, so I like to apply this kind of approach to anything I challenge myself to do. Breakdown the tasks required to meet your objective / resolution and put the key milestones in your diary or in a simple excel activity calendar (with tasks down the side and dates along with the top); this will help you keep to on track and allows you to stay focused in achieving your goals.
- Be flexible – life can be unpredictable and can serve up some curve balls from time to time that can act to de-rail you. If this happens then don’t try and control the uncontrollable, instead look for new opportunities to present themselves. That might mean having to have a re-think on your resolutions – but don’t beat yourself up about it, I’ve often found that a plan B can actually turn out to be better in the long run…
- Reflect often – given the point above in terms of life being dynamic and that situations can change at a blink of the eye, it’s worth reviewing your new year’s resolutions quarterly and reflect on whether they are still as important and relevant to you – you might want to consider adapting or adding new ones in at this point.
- Celebrate successes! – We all respond well to incentives and rewards, we are human after all! So, make sure you find the time celebrate your successes and achievement of your goals / resolutions in whichever way makes you happy.
I hope 2018 turns out to be your best year ever!
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