New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside quicker than the oaths we take when we make them. Lose weight, get healthier, be kinder, relax more… blah, blah, blah. Mostly exercises in futility.
Here I speak to the less than 5% who will actually set a course for the coming year and beyond. ‘If you fail to plan, plan to fail.’ How many times have you heard that? Or how about ‘an idea without action is just a dream?’
Let’s tackle three very important aspects of our lives where we have legitimate chances of creating some reform or improvement.
Create a realistic plan to improve an underperforming process in your business or professional life. It could be as simple as the desire to gain knowledge by reading more or attending industry seminars or conferences. If you choose that then your task is easy. Make a list of the books you need to read by a specific date for each. Research upcoming seminars, webinars, and conferences that have value and afford the ability to learn and sign up. Do it quickly so you don’t procrastinate and change your mind. If you book it you will be more likely to not cancel.
If your focus is going to be more on your business be very specific and realistic. Just saying you want to increase sales is not sufficient. By how much do you want to increase sales? 10, 20, 50 percent? Once you pick the number set the interim benchmarks along with dates to achieve the goal. Without personal accountability you will fail.
This may be the hardest. It is the old work/life balance thing. There are only so many hours in the day to interact with people. Assuming you work more than a forty hour week social activity outside of your working hours may be challenging. Your friends and family will take up most of the time away from the office, and rightly so. But don’t forget that your work-family and associates can also use some of your ‘social’ time. Scheduling lunches, breakfasts, and occasional dinners with work colleagues will strengthen relationships and increase bonds.
By limiting the work/social obligations and confining most of them to the workday will insure that you have sufficient time to devote to the more important friends and family in your life. Now is the time to establish the limits of outside work-hours business involvements. Write down the days you will be available to attend business engagements and stick to it. See, it is all about the plan. Only you can keep yourself accountable.
Not preaching here, but if you are not an atheist you should consider being in sync with the Creator (however you perceive). A healthy respect for the blessings you have received and the humility to acknowledge the same is a great way to keep you on an even keel. Allowing yourself to ask for help is important. Being a believer can be pretty handy when faced with those sticky decisions or when you are in a tight situation. It can give you just the backing you need to come out feeling good about yourself and your decisions or actions. I’m just saying that you don’t have to go it alone. I am also not saying that you should be a preacher or evangelist at work, but you don’t have to hide your faith either. Many of my business relationships have bloomed because I allowed my spirituality to be known. Those relationships I cherish and value above the others. Being able to be open about faith is a blessing to both sides of that equation.
If you have chosen to make 2020 the year of change make it count. Don’t just say it, but plan it and hold yourself accountable. This is a good time to write down the changes and the plan. Nail it to the bulletin board and allow it to haunt you.