I don’t know about you however, I can and will admit that I have never been one very enthusiastic about making real New Year’s resolutions. For sure I tried a couple of times. I put considerable effort into identifying things I was going to do come January 1st. Whether it was eat better … or stick to a strict regimen of workouts … or grow my business. These commitments lasted from hours to days to weeks. What I failed to do was to create MY concrete plan for what would be required of me to achieve these goals. Here we are into the last month of 2019 and it does make sense that we all be thinking of what we’d like to accomplish over the next 12 months in all the various compartments of our lives.
As a business/executive coach, the role I play in working with a client is in helping them go from where they are to where they want to be as they move forward and upward. In order to do this, there are two key components of the thinking and planning that are critical.
The first one is the need to create and actual move-forward plan that provides some insurance that we can and will get to where we desire to be. Our plan becomes the measuring stick by which we can judge and measure our progress. These components, when addressed, help to put purpose to our efforts and help us avoid failure. They include the following:
- What does achievement look like? What is your plan to get to where you desire and intend to be? There is value to looking i.e. 3 years into the future and then, with that in mind, work back to the end of 2021 and then 2020 … based on where you are today.
- What are the ways you can acquire the necessary learning? … other than waiting for the ‘boss’ to come up with the idea for you. What courses, research or conversations should you be taking, doing or having that are at the foundation of your goals?
- What are various things that can/will get in the way of moving forward? This is a no-nonsense introspection that identifies a tendency to i.e. procrastinate, fail to stay the course in general, lose sight of goals among other challenges. Your personal honesty is critical here.
- What will getting around such challenges as obstacles require? … from you and/or fromothers? In what ways can you take immediate actionto rid your path of them? Identifying such challenges allows you to both recognize them when present and take an alternate route to regain traction within the ‘plan’.
The above suggestions tend create the plan that will take us to where we intend to be … at the end of 2020 and beyond. So you’re set and ready to go … right? Well almost however not a sure thing and this is where the second component is so important. The second one is to do a bit of self-analysis just to be certain that we are in the mindset to embrace the things we want to do and avoid sabotaging them. It helps us to build our plan on a foundation that is geared for the very changes and accomplishments we want. Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker and a contributor to Forbes. She has identified four keys to making our failed resolutions into plans that work. They are rather simple, straight forward and worth incorporating:
- Identify Your Readiness to Change. Although we may feel motivated initially, we haven’t really thought about all the work the resolution entails. Thinking, “I guess I should get healthier next year,” without committing to eating healthy and exercising isn’t likely to bode well. Wanting a raise without what you will do to justify one i.e. by increasing your value to the company, is a wish without a plan or sense of personal responsibility. And your plan doesn’t need to take the action on January 1. Rather you can increase your motivation to achieve your goal while creating the plan and related timeline for doing so during the year.
- Believe You Can Do It!
A lot of people try to create change, despite a nagging voice in their heads that says, “This will never work.” If your thoughts constantly drag you down and beat you up, your chances of successare greatly diminished. You’ll likely talk yourself outof moving forward as soon as the going gets rough. Creating long-lasting change requires confidence. Counter the self-doubt by writing down the evidence that informs you that you will be able to reach your goal. Keep the resulting list where you can review it often to ‘affirm your strengths and reduce your negative thinking.’
- Think Constructively About Setbacks
Change in our behavior often involves at least a couple of setbacks. However, it’s the way we respond to them that determines the likelihood of reaching our goals.If we approach our goalallowing for the potential of a mistake that takes us off track, we view it as a temporary ‘inconvenience’ and enhance the potential that we will benefit from the error and move on. If we see the error as failure, we are motivated to say goodbye to the resolution.
- Build Mental Strength
For many people, New Year’s resolutions focus on tangible changes. Although tangible – and measurable – goals are important, it’s impossible to reach those goals without mental strength. It’s the mental strength that will help us reach them. Increasing your mental strength will help you follow through with your goals, even as your motivation declines – which, for many people, is mid-January.
Here’s what I can assure you. If you take several minutes to focus on and address these two areas
of concern you will have taken a BIG step in creating the foundation of YOUR plan that can make next year one of positive movement … for you personally, for the department in which you work and/or for the team or company that you lead. You will also have moved from a too often meaningless New Year’s resolution to a personal resolve to achieve. You will have applied the glue that makes your desires actually stick. 2020? Watch out!
To all our readers, our wishes for 2020 being wonderful and successful in every way you choose!