My last blog was written just before Christmas, almost 3 weeks ago and maybe I should be feeling guilty for it. But in all truth I do not. I understand that people say social media never sleeps and you should not let your readers down by interrupting the flow, but I hope nobody feels that way. I needed a break, time away and space to think, 'let my hair down', enjoy family time....and that is exactly what I did and now I feel so much better for it, I am so ready and keen to go again!
I used some of this time to think about what I want to achieve in 2016, both personally and professionally, for Everyday Mentor. I started to make a list - as a matter of fact two of them - of about ten items and went through a process of weighting, pros-ing and cons-ing each of them, thinking about short, medium and long term impacts and finally came up a much shorter, condensed version of each list, about 3 items long on each side. So now it is all about the action planning aspect of it!
I know that we all like to set Resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but I am sure most of you will agree that after some initial enthusiasm they tend to fade away pretty quickly. The thing is, a resolution is just a dream, unless we go though a proper process to make it happen eventually! Now I am not saying that resolutions are bad, so please do not get me wrong on this. As a matter of fact, having the RESOLVE to do something is the pivotal first step! But after that what do you need to do to ensure your resolve and motivation do not fizzle out by week four of the New Year?
Here are my top-tips. They hopefully will help you turn your Resolutions into Reality by the end of 2016!
Tip #1 - Make a list, THEN cut it by half!
We all start the new year with plenty of enthusiasm and wanting to achieve world domination...but then life takes over and when by June you realise that perhaps only the top one resolution has actually come true you begin to feel frustrated and disappointed, running the risk of dropping what remains on your list all together! So look at each resolution item on your list carefully and ask your self: what would happen if I achieved that? What would happen if I did not achieve that? As you answer these questions you are going to find that some resolutions are sub categories of others, or are not so important or their impact is not so long lasting. Remember nothing is more motivating than success and while stretching yourself is good, frustrating yourself on an impossibly long list is not conducive to success!
Tip #2 - Prioritise your resolutions
This is about ensuring that your resolutions are approached in the most effective and efficient manner. For example, certain things you wish to achieve maybe easier than others, or maybe be naturally ahead of others. For example if you are looking to change job and learn a language, it maybe that the latter is more likely to happen as a result of you achieving the former.
Also, if you are naturally inclined toward foreign languages or already have a basic knowledge of the language you wish to proficiently speak, it maybe better for you to start there and progress.
So be strategic about your resolutions to give yourself the greatest chance of success!
Tip #3 - Time your resolutions correctly
Some of your resolutions may turn into reality at any point of the year. You are in control ultimately, it is about your approach and your attitude, right? Yes, right...for most of them. In some cases, however, other people are involved or necessary for us to execute our resolutions and this means knowing when the time is right to make them happen. Going back to the example above, if you wish to change job you may need to talk to your boss first, or a recruitment agency or similar. Finding the most appropriate time in the month or year to have those conversations ( it may be January for the recruitment agency, it may be the time of your performance review for your boss) is key to you achieving your end goal!
Tip #4 - Verba Volant...
As the Romans used to say, words can fly away at the first gush of wind, but what is written down stays written! So don't just talk about your resolutions...write it down, make those lists and make an action plan! So how do you go about that? There are some quite simple template you can use, but ultimately any plans should provide the answer to a few simple questions:
Q1-what is my resolution / what do I want to achieve?
Q2-when do I want to achieve it by?
Q3-which 3 steps will enable me to achieve it? ( keep it to 3 if possible to keep it simple)
Q4-what other resources / support do I need to achieve it?
Q5-how will I know I have been successful?
If you can answer these questions you will be gone a long way already toward making your Resolution your Reality in 2016!
Tip #5 Keep smiling and keep going!
Whatever you do, do not give yourself a hard time! If you are the kind of person who loses motivation quickly, there are some tricks you can use to help yourself along the way. First, make sure you have an accurate, simple but well written plan that is quite specific. You may need to break it down into smaller steps rather than just 3 to feel that you are achieving and therefore maintaining momentum and motivation. Remember what matters is that you have embarked on the process and not how big your steps are! Secondly, find yourself a buddy to keep going, check on each other's progress and support each other as and when needed. No,doubt you have a friend or a colleague in a similar situation who can fulfil that role. Thirdly, celebrate success! Reward yourself for every step never mind how big or small. It does not have to be an expensive reward nor a material reward. Just sharing the news with your 'resolutions buddy' could be enough.
Last but not least, this is what coaches and mentors are good for! If you feel that addressing your resolutions and making them happen could be a source of stress or if you could benefit from someone keeping you on track or that little more challenged...that is what a professional can help you with.
Good luck and much success in 2016! If I can help you in any way just get in touch, or write to tell me about your resolutions and how you are getting on!
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieveing their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.