2013 – New Beginnings

This is the time when many set New Year Resolutions. It is a time when our ‘clocks’ reset and we start a new year again with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. It is also a time when we promise to achieve something new. We make resolutions (promises) to lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with loved ones, learn a new language, take up a new hobby, etc. etc. etc. The list is endless.

In many situations these resolutions are forgotten as life takes over and we resume ‘normality’. We might promise to get back to the resolutions at some point in the future, possibly after we get past some ‘blocking’ incident. I read once that a New Year’s Resolution is a todo list for the first week in January.

The problem is that in some situations, when we stop pursuing our resolutions, we feel sorry. We might even blame ourselves or consider our inability to achieve the result as a failure. Some might even say things to themselves like “I knew I couldn’t do it” or, “I never achieve what I set out to do”. Very limiting and degrading statements. They are statements that we then use to beat ourselves up with as we take on other tasks during the year. So why should we put ourselves through that? Why bother with New Year Resolutions at all?

New Year Resolutions can be very beneficial and rewarding if we do them right, follow through and achieve them. We feel motivated as well as a huge sense of achievement when we successfully complete them. This success can even propel us to achieve more, to take on more challenges. In short, achieving our targets help us to realise more in our lives.

So if they are so good an idea, why do so many of us not see our resolutions through? Why do we end up in situations where we feel that we have failed?

Did you know that the success (or not) of your Resolution depends on how you phrase the actual promise?

It’s true.

When deciding on New Year Resolutions we tend to use vague, non-committal language that gives us an ‘out’ if we need it. We tend to say things like “I should stop smoking” or “I must lose weight” or “For the New Year, I could join a Gym and get fit for the summer”. All great desires, but saying things like “should”, “must” or “could” we are not committing to out goal, we are merely expressing a wish.

If you want to make a New Year’s Resolution succeed you need to commit to it. Wishful language doesn’t do this. In order to give yourself the best chance of success your resolution must:

    1. Be expressed in terms of commitment, e.g. “I WILL stop smoking”
    2. Time based, e.g. “I WILL stop smoking by Easter

With these two simple steps you are both committing and setting yourself a deadline for the success of your goal. Once you have set your resolution in this format, you have given yourself a commitment and a deadline. This means you will be able to track your progress, realise how you are succeeding and use that as a motivator to reach the goal.

If you really want to add a ‘carrot’ to the situation, promise yourself a reward once you have achieved your goal. For example, “I WILL stop smoking by EASTER and I WILL use the money I save to book a HOLIDAY”. In this statement, you have made a commitment, set a deadline and promised a reward/bonus for reaching your goal. The reminder of the bonus will also help as a motivator to succeed.

But there is a longer term benefit to setting and achieving your goals; self-belief. By achieving your goals you will be proving to yourself that you CAN set your mind to something and CAN achieve it. This will build your confidence and self-belief which will open you up to tackling new goals and ACHIEVING THEM.

And it all starts with how you phrase the goals/resolutions you set at this time of the year.

Why not use the start of 2013 as a time for a New Beginning for YOU?

All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
    1. Decide what you want to achieve (using the language of commitment),
    2. Set a deadline,
    3. Write down your goal and check it daily,
    4. Decide on a reward/bonus that you can have once you have achieved your goal.

Give it a try. What have you got to lose?

You might surprise yourself and 2013 might be the beginning of a New You…

Happy 2013!!!

A Time to Reflect (& Plan)

So we are coming to the end of another year and 2012 will soon be consigned to memory as we embark on the adventure that is 2013.

As we count down to the end of 2012, how was it for you?

In today’s busy and very fast paced world, do you take time to reflect on what has passed and what is to come? Have you challenged yourself to review your progress against your plan.

In the commercial world, it is common practice (or, at least it should be!) to review progress against the strategic plans that were set which inform management on the overall direction of the organisation. But what about the most important organisation of all; YOU Inc?

In work, we follow the procedures aimed at delivering corporate results and driving the company forward. We develop KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) so that we can see when things are going well, or not, against the plan and, during periodic reviews, we adjust our plans as the business environment dictates in order to achieve our goals.

So why done you do the same for YOU?

Now is the perfect time to have your review meeting. Take time to check where you are going in life.

  • What is/are your long term goals?
  • Where do you want to be at the end of 2013?, 2014?, in 5 years?

Take time to review what happened over the course of 2012.

  1. What positive things happened for you over the course of the year?
  2. What negative things happened for you over the course of the year?
  3. What positives/learning can you take from both the positives and negatives over the year?
Just as it is important for businesses, it is also vital for you as an individual and the CEO of YOU Inc. to take time for review and planning. How else can you know you are still on the right track?¬†How else can you learn from what didn’t work for you and change your approach going forward?

 

Once you have reviewed 2012 (and written down the answers to the three questions above), what KPIs will you develop for 2013 that will make it a fun year, YOUR year and the year that you achieve, or get closer to YOUR Plan?

 

Remember to write down your plan and put it somewhere safe. You should review it periodically throughout the year to make sure you are on track. I suggest that clients review their plans at least on a quarterly basis. It can be fun to take out the plan you made at the end of 2012 and see how you are getting on with it in March, June, September and December 2013. Remember though, that you are not tied to your plan. As in the case of business, your review process should allow room to amend your plan so that it remains achievable, current and relevant.

 

Many people try resolutions at the start of each New Year and most are forgotten by week 2 in January. Instead of the traditional resolution making that demotivates when it doesn’t work out, why not try the business approach to planning (you possibly already do it within your company, for your company)?

 

In summary, the steps cannot be simpler:
  1. Strategic Goals – Where are you going? What are your long term goals?
  2. Review 2012 – Good & Bad. Make notes of the learnings you are taking from the year, particularly as they relate to your Strategic Goals. Focus on the things you can control (too often we focus on National and International issues as though we are personally responsible for them and their resolution).
  3. Plan 2013 – What are you going to do in 2013 that will keep you on track towards your overall plan? How will you apply the learnings from 2012 so that mistakes will not be repeated? (Be realistic. As with Business plans, your’s should be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and, Time based)
  4. Write down your goals for 2013 and store them safely so that you can review them periodically throughout the year.
Regardless of the economic situation, 2013 can be your best year ever!!!

Here’s to 2013 (assuming the Mayan’s got it wrong!)…Let’s ALL enjoy the Ride!!!