Back in the day – I was a resolute gym goer for about 11 months out of the year. It was always beneficial to take the month (or at least the first two weeks) of January off. Why? The gym was never busier than it was just after New Year's Day, which was when everyone stepped into their New Year's Resolutions. Interestingly enough, the wave of new memberships lasted for no more than a month.
Why is that? Why do people resolve to something on January 1, and by January 31, they have let themselves fall back into their pre-resolution habit system. Don't we as humans complete all that we set out to do? Why would we set ourselves up for failure when we should be setting ourselves up for success?
Imagine, if instead of the stress of a new year's resolution, you take the time to reflect at the moment at any given time what you would like to do differently. This relates to both our personal and professional selves. For example, imagine that you noticed today that your business was not reaching some of the targets you had hoped for. Would you wait until the beginning of the next fiscal year to put in a plan of action? Likely not. In fact, it could be professionally and financially devastating to do so.
How do we mindfully and intentionally set ourselves (again, personally and professionally) up for success? Does that feel overwhelming? Would you prefer to look at it in a more esthetically attractive manner?
A metaphor that I often use is someone that wants to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year. They don't change their eating habits or workout routine but focus on losing 20 pounds. There are no measurements, no check-ins, and just know that they want to lose 20 pounds. Then on December 31, they step on the scale only to be surprised that they haven't lost any weight. Setting a goal without measurable milestones is honestly meaningless. If this same individual set themselves up for success by saying they want to lose 5 pounds per month – which means they need to lose approximately 1.25 pounds per week. At the end of each week, weigh-in and determine if their actions will afford them success on December 31? What do they need to adjust? Etc., the likelihood of success is far greater.
Years ago, I was educated on a unique program that combines various techniques and approaches into a holistic system that fundamentally changes how you think and act, so you (theoretically) can improve your existing results by at least 4x. The most fundamental mindset shift is to redefine your year from "1 Year equals 12 Months" to "1 Year equals 12 Weeks". By allowing yourself to have smaller, but more meaningful target dates, you should be able to stay focussed, stay engaged and overall enjoy further success.
New Year – New Resolution? I'd like to buck the norm and say no. Instead of only taking time to self-reflect on New Year's eve – waking up New Years Day setting yourself up for what may or may not be a great strategy for the year, I'd invite you to reflect now on what you want to accomplish this quarter. What do you need to do monthly, weekly, and daily to secure that target?
"Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day's success." ― Israelmore Ayivor
Laurie Fenske is a trusted advisor to Strategic Steps. She runs a multi-faceted leadership and executive coaching practice in Sherwood Park, Alberta. You can reach her at 587.782.8669 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about her services by visiting www.fenskecoaching.com.