So you haven’t pulled the trigger on a New Year’s resolution yet? In the wake of holiday parties, writing thank you notes, packing away decorations, and taking returns to the mall—you just haven’t had time to give it serious thought, right?
The Babylonians who started this New Year’s tradition centuries ago sure weren’t dealing with the multitasking malaise facing us today: backed-up email, smart phones sounding off, ticking parking meters, and a dozen schedules required to keep our family on track. Keeping with tradition, there are a few tricks which might just help you make your New Year’s resolution appear before your very eyes—and stick this time…
Make your resolution by the end of the month
I think we’ve got it all wrong when it comes to the timing of a resolution. We think we need to do it on January 1st—and that’s it. Take some time, think it through, and don’t make a hasty decision. Really, a resolution is about change—something that takes time. If you don’t decide what your resolution will be until the end of the month, no big deal.
Make a handful of small resolutions
Don’t spend too much time trying to narrow your choice to only one major resolution. Perhaps you want to have a financial resolution, a social resolution, and a health resolution. Be as creative as you need to be, but be sure you don’t limit yourself to only one.
One month at a time
Yes, one month at a time will get the job done, too. Plus, by renewing your resolution monthly, you’re allowed a chance to review your strategies and personal values. It’s not a game changer if you decide your resolution needs to be different one month. In fact, developing personal insight is healthy and encouraged.
Don’t shoot for the moon
If you haven’t been moving your body lately, you probably won’t be running a marathon soon. When the goals are too high, people often don’t follow through. Rationalisation kicks in to the beat of “I won’t be able to do it anyway, so why bother.” Remember your personal limits and make your challenge reasonable.
Write down your resolution and keep it in a special place
There is something about writing down a commitment or obligation that helps some people remember it and stay serious about it. This concept is logical since we frequently sign contracts, leases, letters, and checks. Every time we do, we are committing to an obligation that represents our character and requires something of us. Go ahead and sign your name to your resolution if you would like. Even post it in a place where you’ll see it often.
Keep your resolution plan simple and flexible
It won’t just happen on its own. Reaching a goal is like making a trip in the car. You need to know how you are going to get where you plan to go. Map out the path to your goal. Be sure to devise a plan that drives you directly to success. You may find it helpful to involve friends or family, do some reading on the topic, get a mentor, brush up on some old skills, or eliminate something from your schedule to make room for new ways of thinking or behaving.
Allow failure to encourage you
Research reminds us over and over that failure is part of success—it’s not a jumping off point. Many think that resolutions are all or nothing. If they aren’t successful for an entire year, then they are complete failures. It really shouldn’t be that way. For example, smokers may need to relapse seven or eight times before finally stopping their habit. Failure certainly isn’t a license to give yourself permission to indulge, but it is evidence that you are trying to make a change and that something is happening.
Reward yourself for meeting your goal
For many of us, just keeping the resolution and meeting the goal is rewarding in itself. However, it may not hurt to have an extra incentive dangling in front of you just in case a little boost of encouragement is needed when the going gets tough.
Get in touch now to find out how WorkingSm@rt workshops can help you be more effective and manage your workflow in and out of the office.
Adapted from “The Procrastinator’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions” by Jeff Brown, published in LearningLink January 2016 edition.