Sunday, January 4, 2015

Don't Make Resolutions, Make Plans

At the start of this New Year, it’s tempting, if not compulsive, to come up with a series of New Year’s resolutions that will help 2015 be better than last year. We do this on both personal as well as professional levels.  I can’t count how many times I resolved to start t a new diet or allocate more time for professional development, only to have my most well-intentioned resolutions fall by the wayside.

I think one of the reasons resolutions fail is because we view the very first breach to be a sign of total failure.  In other words, if we resolve to avoid all chocolate candy in the New Year, the first time we stray, we assume we’ve failed, and that justifies a return to old habits.

The same holds true in our professional lives.  Perhaps we decide that in the New Year, we will read one career-enhancing book per month, or we commit to attending a certain number of industry-related networking events.  Then as the demands of the job take over, we find we don’t meet our targets, and we give up on that resolution.

But we do have it in us to succeed, and the key to that success could be as simple as changing a word.  What if instead of calling them “resolutions” we call it a “plan?”  And instead of coming up with 10 or more resolutions, we structure our New Year’s plan around three or four achievable items?

Most people can be very effective at executing well thought-out plans and here’s the reason why.  We don’t penalize ourselves when we miss interim goals in plans. Typically, we double-up our efforts the next week, the next month or the next quarter when we work our plans.  Or maybe we simply just jump back into the plan and try to do better.

We tend to allow for the occasional lapse in our execution of the plan, but we keep our focus on the larger goals, strategies and benchmarks that in the long run will come to determine the plan’s overall success.

I have a recommendation for 2015.  Instead of coming up with a long list of New Year’s resolutions, try to achieve the same goals through a concise and achievable plan.  And then begin work it and don’t view the first obstacle along the way as cause to abandon the effort.  In that way, you’re structuring your new chapter around success, regardless of whether you give in tomorrow and have that piece of chocolate.

No comments:

Post a Comment