I’ve never been a big fan of New Years resolutions. Most people look at them as an all or nothing proposition and give up on the whole thing when they misstep. It’s why gyms are so crowded in January and not as much so the rest of the year. The other issue is that we should be looking at establishing goals and creating good habits throughout the year, not just on the First of January.
I approach the New Year in two ways. First there’s the big goal. Where do I want to be at the end of the year and how does that fit into my longer-range plan. 2017 was the year I was going to become a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. There were a lot of ups and downs toward that goal and while at the beginning of the year I was thinking that would happen no later than August, I still accomplished my goal when the official Certification date was December 13. This goal was part of a bigger 5-year life transition plan that began in, and has been evolving since, 2015. That goal is about who I want to be personally and professionally as an empty nesting parent.
Setting long and short term goals is important because incremental changes are needed so you can be who you want to be; so you can be the person you visualize when achieving success in the long term (more on visualization next week).
That brings me to the second approach, which is where the New Years resolution can come in. At this time each year (and other key times), I try to create one new habit that will achieve a bigger goal by the end of the year (or by my birthday or the end of the school year, etc.). Habits take about 30 days to develop. Not giving yourself flexibility to falter a little is setting yourself up for failure. The smaller incremental change I wanted to make in 2017 was how I communicated with my clients and network (potential clients). This supported my bigger goal of fulfilling the requirements for Certification (having clients). I had a technology learning curve to come however that contributed to a delay in securing consistent clients, achieving the required number of coaching hours, and scheduling my oral exam (somewhat out of my control).
It’s always important to stay focused on the end goal and results, not whether or not you cave one day, can’t get to the gym this week because of work or family obligations, or are a little off schedule on your first business communication because it’s taking longer to learn MailChimp than you anticipated. Just keep going!
So to establish a meaningful and achievable (and SMART) New Years resolution, first look at the long range goal and who and what you need to be to achieve that goal. What are the incremental changes that need to occur? What is one habit that you can create that will move you forward? And of course once you achieve that, take aim at another. Keep going.
The habits I created last year supported the development of my business and who I wanted to be as a coach. The weekly habit of publishing this blog is a carryover from 2016. Am I beating myself up because I didn’t post something *every* week this year. Hell no! This is my 100th blog post! I took this so much further than I ever thought possible. I’m continuing to build toward my bigger vision.
So who will you be in 2018? What can you do now? And next month? And in the spring? Don’t stop. Keep evolving, committing, and recommitting. Keep going.