Traditional New Year’s resolutions traditionally fail. Here are some tips to turn that around.
Perhaps you have given up on the whole idea of the New Year’s resolution. After all, those vows to lose weight or learn Chinese rarely make it into February. What’s the point of perpetuating a cycle that only ends up making us feel like failures?
Well, maybe because humans have been resolving to kick things up a notch in the New Year for more than 4,000 years. The concept of the clean slate, the fresh start, is universal and enduring. (Early resolutions included returning borrowed objects and getting out of debt — both still pretty good ones.)
Continuous self-improvement is also an essential workplace tool and a key element to any successful career. If you’re game to give it another go in 2019, consider these strategies:
1. Keep your list of resolutions short. In fact, setting just one resolution is not a bad idea. You can focus all your energy on it, even making into a mantra or motto that you repeat to yourself, like “start saying yes” or “think before speaking.”
2. Make your resolution concrete and realistic. Instead of an abstract goal like “build my skillset,” for example, decide to sign up for a class, find a mentor or start a reading regimen.
3. Set mini-goals. Say you’ve made an ambitious resolution like finding a new job or winning a promotion. Congratulations! Breaking that objective down into its component steps will make it much more doable.
4. Link the thing you’d like to start doing every day to something you already do. This is called “piggybacking” and works especially well for instilling new habits. Do you need to monitor social media but have trouble limiting the amount of time you spend? You’re not alone. Try pairing your social media duties with a naturally time-limited activity, like drinking a cup of coffee.
5. Talk about it. Say you’ve decided to keep your workspace cleaner and more organized. Announce this fact to your co-workers and ask them to hold you accountable. Peer pressure is an amazing thing.
6. Expect setbacks. You will certainly experience ups and downs, no matter how well you plan or work or focus. Don’t let those missteps or mistakes derail you. Remember: there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.
So go ahead, make that resolution. And have a happy 2019.