Implementing change is a common notion for the New Year. Resolutions or better commitments are made to hopefully improve the upcoming year. Statistics show that over half of the commitments (resolutions) made at the beginning of the year are broken within the first six months. So how can we make resolutions that will accomplish the changes we need? Les Brown says, “We may not accomplish every goal we set – no one does – but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly.” In other words, be willing to always get back up no matter how many times you fail. Never give up on your goal.
1. Know Why – I once had a co-worker that did things only because everyone else seemed to be successful at it. He didn’t care if it fit him or not he just did it because it worked for the other person. Our resolutions should not be chosen because someone else is doing it. To be successful it needs to be based on what we really want for ourselves. This is what sets us up for long-term success.
Decide what you really want to achieve and write it down. Self-improvement always starts with the deep concerned about bettering you. Make goals for yourself. Try to be specific and realistic about what you want to achieve. For example: "I want a new job," is an open-ended dream compared to, "I want to work at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, TN as a manager." You increase your chances of success by narrowing down your goals with specific details.
2. Know When – Often times I have set goals at the beginning of the year but had not really set a deadline to when I wanted to reach my goals. This mindset caused many of my goals to be lost and forgotten due to burn out and the daily grind.
Put a time limit on your goals. Sometimes to do this requires you to break up large goals into smaller ones that you can manage and gauge the progress. For example, if you're still in your first year in college, it's not realist to try to graduate this spring. That goal is a process that requires specific steps to achieve. The current goal should be something like, "I'm going to work to get the best grade I can on the upcoming assignment; then I will continue to work hard to do my best in each of my class - even the ones I don't like. Once the basics are covered you can be hopeful for the semester, the year and so on and so forth. Always work to master the step you are on before trying to conqueror the entire flight of stairs.
3. Know Action – Many great plans never get acted upon. I'm sure we know why we should do something different for the New Year and we probably know when we need to have it done, but carrying out the plan is another story. To do what's required to achieve any goal requires long-term diligence. Zig Ziglar said this about action, “Setting goals helps to bring our future into our present because in the present is where we must take action.”
Make every day a day of "action"! Do something that progresses you forward to the desired goal. Even small steps will get you there if you are consistent. Set a regular time to review and evaluate the action to be taken for the day. (Ex. - First thing in the morning, first fifteen minutes in the office, and/or a moment before going to bed.) Don’t be afraid to tweak and refine your goals. Change is inevitable. As you act upon one action step you are bound to learn how to improve the next.
Summary – If you are making or have made resolutions for the New Year and want to be successful, keep in mind - why the change is needed, when the change is best, and decide to continue acting out the desired change no matter how difficult or small the progress. Someone once said, “People with clear written goals accomplish more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” Go reach your goals today!