The ending of one year and the beginning of another can be both exciting and anxiety-ridden. In casual conversation at holiday parties and family get togethers, conversations always come around to the making of New Year’s Resolutions. I’m sure you have either heard or been that person with this point of view on resolutions, “I don’t make resolutions any more because I never keep them.” I always find this perspective a little disappointing. I am one of those people who really loves making New Year’s resolutions, but this is because I believe resolutions are not only goals, but promises I make to myself. If you think of resolutions as simply something to do or make because everyone else is, without any meaning or purpose then it’s very easy to allow these goals to fall to the wayside by mid-January. However, if you approach your resolutions as promises you’ve made to yourself, then you may find it easier to make progress towards your goals. Think of it this way, if you aren’t keeping the promises you make to yourself, how can you expect to keep promises you make to others? A few points to consider as you think about what promises you want to make to yourself for 2010.
Make Your Promise Meaningful: If you are planning on making a New Year’s resolution, try to come up with a goal that is important and meaningful to you personally or professionally. Why not promise to do or learn something with the potential of making you a better father, mother, sister, friend, sales person, vice president, or entrepreneur? For example, if you know that your presentation skills are holding you back from becoming the sales professional that you want to be, then why not invest a business or sales coach, take a public speaking class at the local community college or simply buy a book on becoming a better speaker? Not only will you be working towards something that is meaningful to you, but you will also be keeping a promise to yourself that can make you better.
Break Down the Resolution: One of the most difficult things about accomplishing a goal or sticking to a resolution is breaking the resolution into manageable steps. A lofty goal is great, but without an understanding of what it takes to carry out it, the lofty goal remains a pipe dream. One way to get a handle on what it takes to accomplish your resolution is to talk with people who have done it already. In addition to asking about the steps they took to carry out their goals, also inquire about the challenges they met and what they did to work through those obstacles. This may give you insight into the fears you may have and what hurdles you can expect coming your way.
Move On After a Failure: In any situation, it is difficult to admit to ourselves (and potentially others) we have failed, but once we do we can move on and pick up were we left off. It always takes multiple attempts and multiple failures to accomplish the things that are most meaningful to us. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again, is a philosophy on life that we want our children to learn, but it is one that we forget to take on for ourselves. If we remember that failure is inevitable than we can avoid defeat (or giving up completely). Importantly, we often learn much more about ourselves from our failures and defeats than we do from the achievements that came with minimal effort.
The New Year is right around the corner. What promise will you make to yourself? What will you do to accmplish it? And How will you move on from your failures?