1. Mentally prepare for change
Changing ingrained habits is no easy task, so before diving head-first into your New Year goals, it is important to take a step back and get ready for that impending change.
The first breakthrough in change is taking a personal inventory. Being that it’s the end of one year and the beginning of the next; it’s perfect timing to take stock in the past year’s accomplishments. Think about the following:
- What did I set out to do in the past year?
- Where did I make progress?
- Where didn’t I see progress?
Naturally, your resolution may focus on areas that lack progress, but don’t forget to savor the progress made, and find some small way to celebrate. Those happy feelings are useful! If possible, try to associate them with an object or word related to your accomplishment.
You will want to keep upbeat with your new resolution, so you can use that positive association with last year’s accomplishments to remind you of those good feelings when you are feeling challenged.
As you start thinking about the changes you want to implement, make sure to do the following:
- Stay positive
- Try not to make big/quick changes
- Change should be gradual
- Build on smaller changes
- Allow a little room for error
2. Set a goal that motivates you
You would be surprised how often people set goals that are not for themselves. These goals could be dictated or coerced by a manager, spouse, or parental / peer pressure.
While it’s nice to have some external support, if you don’t share the same passion, the resolution has a small chance of succeeding and could even be dead on arrival.
To do this, you need to make sure the goal you set is important to you and only you and that there is value or benefit for you in achieving the goal. It is these two things that will provide the reason and willingness to take action. This is also known as motivation!
Thus, it’s a safe bet if your resolutions align with the following:
- Your goals
- Your priorities
- Your dreams
- Your aspirations
Not only should you align around your inner-most desires, but you should also make sure the resolutions align around your top priorities. This will lead to a “must do” attitude.
If your goals are career-centric, like improving your Excel skills, creating your own professional development plan is a great way to stay motivated on the path towards your goal.