New Year, New You
How many times have you (or someone you know) made a promise to change at the beginning of a new year, only to fall off and neglect the promise you are so eagerly committed to keep? Most of us have made pledges to start a business, change jobs, lose weight, go back to school, or some other goal we want to achieve.
The frustration we feel when an interruption comes and challenges our commitment to the goals – often a lack of resources or will power – causes the them to fall fleetingly by the wayside.
No matter your goals, there are a few ways to help you maintain your commitment and follow-through the entire year:
Pick one goal to focus on and pursue it
Having a checklist of numerous resolutions can be overwhelming, and unrealistic. During my yearly personal strategic planning session, I identify the areas that may need improvement or adjusting, and prioritize the “to do” list, selecting just a few to focus on and pursue. Using the same approach to a New Year’s resolution can prove an efficient way to identify the top 1 or 2 concerns, allowing an opportunity to make real progress, since you are not overwhelmed with a laundry list of action items.
For example, if your goal is to get a new job, make that your primary focus and work on a plan for doing so, such as tweaking your job search process, working with a career coach, actively participating in a networking event that draws potential employers in your job industry, or revamping your resume.
Get a support system
It is not always easy to pursue goals, and it can be downright daunting when you face challenges on your own, with no one to spur you on or give you a little insight. Put together a support system to help you with your resolutions and encourage you when difficult times arise.
For the newly minted entrepreneur, your team of cheerleaders should include a mentor, at least one person who has expertise in your industry and viewed as an ally, not a competitor, and a good friend who does not judge you and supports your dreams.
[Related: Get Yourself a Support System]
Celebrate the accomplishments
While pursuing a goal, it is always good to celebrate successes. We often focus on the end-result, and neglect the process of gaining an accomplishment. Take a moment to appreciate each milestone, celebrate, and get back to focusing on the resolution. Take yourself out to lunch at a favorite restaurant, put on some great music and dance, or give a token of appreciation to the mentor who coached and encouraged you until you reached your goal.
Celebrate the setbacks
It is easy to celebrate our accomplishments, but it is often hard to be cheerful when we encounter a setback. Feelings of failure and frustration can erode progress made. While it can be difficult, view your setback as an opportunity for a do-over, and work on getting it right the next time.
Should your resolution to go back to school for your Master’s degree, or whatever educational goal you have set, hit a road-block, do not be discouraged. Instead of abandoning the idea when a missed admissions deadline, not being accepted, or a lack of financial resources for the academic program impede you, use the setback as an opportunity for improvement. Take a continuing education class to get you ready for the next semester, or meet with a member of the admissions team to find out how you can improve your application submission the next time.
Become the change you seek
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Become the change you seek in the world.” As it relates to maintaining your New Year’s resolutions throughout 2013 and beyond, your attitude will determine your ability to stay the course until your goal is fulfilled.
A popular practice is to create a vision board, a visual of what you want in life that you can look at to encourage you, or reinforce commitment. My method is mental visualization, in which I “see” myself achieving a goal. When I have affirmed my goals and had the right attitude, I have succeeded. When self-doubt clouded my view (even the slightest inkling), the goal has never been met. It’s all about your attitude!
What is your goal for 2013? Share it in the comment section.
Blogger’s Note: We are celebrating change, focus, and commitment in 2013 on every level of living – work and personal lives – on our blog, Ask the Strategist, and throughout the year on our radio show, The Strategy Sessions. We invite you to join us and become a better you, better me, better US! The goal is to continue the momentum throughout the year, and make change a habit that knows no time limit. Share your success stories with us on Twitter (hashtag #NewYearNewYou)
Wishing you a fantastic 2013…and beyond!
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