The New Year has a way of testing our resolve, and it’s usually by this time of year we know just how much we have. Whether we told ourselves we would de-clutter our homes, return to the gym, or reduce our intake of caffeine, studies say 46% of us abandon our resolutions within the first month. Many say they can’t find the time, get frustrated for lack of results or forget the reasons why they ever started.
The same might be said for career-based resolutions. These promises often revolve around gaining a certification, learning a new skill, improving work-life balance, or making more money. All good things, how do we go about avoiding the fall-off and successfully making these improvements in our professional lives?
- Start small with realistic goals. Remember, meeting one of these goals might by default gain you another. Start with the one most easily attained and let the momentum of winning that carry you on to the next.
- Put your goals(s) in writing, and share them with a friend. Simply by transferring from mind to paper we take a critical step in recognizing what we want and feeling that rush of excitement at the prospect of achieving it. By telling a spouse or friend, we make everything more real because we know they will be asking questions, following up, holding us accountable.
- Specify steps needed to meet the goal(s). Every journey consists of steps, and you need to know what those will be before you start out. Making more money is a great goal, but it doesn’t just happen by wanting it. You will need to get a raise or promotion, or move to a job with higher earnings. Think through which is more feasible and list the steps needed to reach it.
- Set reasonable time limits. Set a time table to each step, so you will more likely stay on track as the year progresses. If your goal is to get a new certification, specify by which time you will have done the research to find the right training, by which time you will have enrolled, and by which time you will have completed the training. That way, when it gets hard in that middle muddle, you can look at your timetable and realize you are well on your way, nearly half way there, or almost at the end of reaching this goal.
- Make sure your goals are your own. Have you ever met anyone who lost weight because their spouse or doctor wanted them to? Anyone who stuck with a new routine because they saw their friend doing it? Neither have I. Attainable goals need to be of our own conviction and for all the reasons we ourselves know. You make your list and let your friends make theirs.
- Recognize the milestones. They might be small, but take time to recognize and smile about each achievement along the way. And don’t forget to put a check mark next to that step, or cross it out altogether. Allow yourself to tangibly see your progress, and before you know it, you will have more checked off than not and you’ll be well on your way to a year of successful resolutions.