The New Year represents a fresh start, so it’s no wonder that so many of us choose January 1st to set new career goals and personal objectives. After all, the prospect of self-improvement and a better year ahead is seemingly exciting and cleansing all at once. The reality, however, is that while so many of us take a solemn oath to really stick to our resolutions this year, by March we don’t even remember what we set out to accomplish.  

The good news is that New Year’s Resolutions are no different than when we set a goal for ourselves at work, or in our personal lives – the only difference is there is an inordinate amount of conversation and pressure around everyone to have a few by January 1st.

In the spirit of helping those of us who have the best intentions, but have fallen short in the past with delivering on an end goal, here are some basic steps we can all take to make sure we ACTUALLY reach our goals and create the year ahead we are hoping and wishing for:

  1. Those That Deal In Specifics Seldom Fail And Those That Deal In Generalities Seldom Succeed – this January 1st be sure to create VERY specific goals in order to give yourself the chance to achieve them.

    A ‘general goal’ sample is: “I’d like to get more involved in charity work.” Although sweet, this is an example of how you set yourself up for failure. On the flip side, a very ‘specific goal’ sample to implement instead is: I am going to join the i.e. City Year Charity team and volunteer a minimum of 2 hours per week for the duration of the year.

    The devil is in the details and we all need the details in order to deliver on the resolution. 

  2. Keep Your Resolutions Top Of Mind – during the Month of January everyone is acutely aware of his or her resolutions and open to discussing them often.  The key here is to keep that same focus and momentum going throughout 2017. I find writing my goals down and posting them in places where I see them daily to be of help, mainly because they serve as constant reminders. I like to schedule weekly prompts in my outlook calendar so my phone and computer remind me of my goals as well. Frequency sells and it is critical to see your goals and remind yourself of your mission often.
  3. Be Accountable – accountability can be more challenging for some of us. So, for those that struggle with accountability, identifying a partner or ‘accountability buddy’ will dramatically shift the odds of success in your favor. If you can find another friend that also wants to keep their resolutions year round, then the two of you can hold each other accountable.

    Scheduling monthly accountability check-ins, especially at a favorite restaurant or sporting event, can be a fun way to report to one another on how your resolutions are coming. Knowing that you have to face the other person and report in on your progress will also definitely help you stay focused on your tasks at hand.

  4. Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail – in order to achieve ANY goal, you’re going to need a plan. There’s no getting around this as a plan is a detailed roadmap that you can use to propel yourself and/or fall back on when you want to ensure that you are taking the right steps to achieve your goals. Consider tapping into a mentor or friend that has had success in your goal area and ask them to help you build your plan. Constructing a comprehensive one will ensure you are taking the next right step towards achieving your goal.
  5. Be SMART – S.M.A.R.T. goals are the only kind of goals to have if you are serious about delivering on them.  You need a goal that is Specific. Measureable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. Give yourself deadlines to hit along the way.  

While this may seem like a lot of work to achieve your resolution(s), you will feel much better about yourself come December 2017 when you have ACTUALLY delivered on them. Because a part of setting goals is feeling good about yourself when you actually accomplish them.

Good luck and Happy New Year!