January’s the logical month to make New Year’s Resolutions: new year, new you. Right? Donna Sisinni reckons February’s the best time for getting realistic, however. As ‘being realistic’ is what usually bring results.
We’ve all been there. January sees us filled with inspiration to be better and do better! So we make New Year’s Resolutions about how we’ll improve our personal lives, and set intentions for how we’ll grow and strengthen our businesses.
But then the year gets into full swing and all those good intentions fall away as we juggle competing priorities while ensuring our clients remain happy.
That’s why I think February is a great time to tackle our New Year’s Resolutions in a practical way. Rather than simply kissing goodbye to our January intentions, try reactivating them in February by doing these three simple things:
1. TRANSFORM YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS INTO GOALS
We tend to think big when making resolutions and this, unfortunately, is often the very reason we fail at keeping them. Our minds can’t deal with the overwhelm of our grandiose plans. So the key really is to break your resolutions down into small, actionable goals.
To help you do this, use the SMART goals principle:
Specific: clearly define your goal. Ask yourself what, why, who, where and which questions. Answer these questions in as much detail as possible because doing so will help give form to each goal.
Measurable: determine how you’ll know if you’re making progress or have fulfilled your goal. What is the proof you’ll need at each stage? You can then either lift your game or pat yourself on the back depending on your progress.
Achievable: ensure you’re being realistic. Of course, it’s great to shoot for the stars but your goals must be based on your capabilities, time and finances. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to achieve what you hoped to and will quickly become disheartened.
Relevant: keep your resolutions uppermost in your mind, and consider whether the goal in question will actually get you closer to where you want to be. That is, do your goals directly relate back to your resolutions?
Time-based: establish a timeline for your goals. Start by dissecting your goals into smaller, actionable steps and then set timeframes for each step. Decide what you’ll accomplish today, next week, next month and so on.
2. DON’T LET YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS (AND GOALS) OUT OF YOUR SIGHT
To keep you on track, place your resolutions somewhere prominent. This will ensure you don’t forget your long-term plans when life gets hectic in the short term.
Similarly, set aside specific times or days dedicated solely to doing the work that’ll move you closer to your end goals. This aids in maintaining momentum. It’ll further give you the space needed to achieve the things you want to and in turn, you’re more likely to remain committed to the process.
Also, plan to periodically review your goals (and set yourself a reminder for this). You may find you need to rework some goals based on the progress you’ve made but, more importantly, it will help you keep moving forward.
3. YOU’RE NOT SUPER(WO)MAN
The quickest way to ensure you don’t achieve your goals (and fulfil your resolutions) is to try to achieve them all immediately. So pick out the goal or goals most important to you, and devote your efforts to working through those.
Remember your resolutions and goals are important, otherwise, you wouldn’t have made them. So continue to work on them even when you don’t feel you have the time. The sense of satisfaction you’ll gain from your efforts (and results) will be invaluable will provide the momentum you need to keep going all year.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your achievements with that glass of red – you’ll have earned it!