As the countdown to 2019 gets ever closer, many people will be considering their New Year’s Resolutions. These may include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising more, giving up alcohol or giving up smoking, eating healthier; or improving communication skills, learning a language, taking up a hobby; or improving work-life balance, spending more time with the family, travelling, or improving a relationship; or dealing with work issues, such as career development, being more organised, managing stress better, or procrastinating less.
However, over half of all resolutions will have been discarded by mid-February. So what is the key to fulfilling a resolution?
Firstly we need to recognise what a resolution is – a statement of change. There is no inherent plan of how we are going to deliver this change. Therefore we need to take our statement of change and turn it into an objective – a SMART objective, ie: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Is the resolution specific? For example, rather than ‘I want to lose weight’, say ‘I want to lose eight pounds’. As humans, we work better when we have a real focus on what we are looking to achieve, rather than an open-ended vague goal.
Is the resolution measurable? For example, rather than ‘I want to save money’, say ‘I want to save £5,000 by 1st June 2019’. This provides real clarity of the goal and enables us to hold ourselves to account.
Is the resolution achievable? If we stand little chance of achieving our goal, we will shy away from it, as it will seem far too difficult. As Desmond Tutu said: “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. If we are looking for a big change, we should break it down into smaller achievable goals, making the big change seem much more manageable.
Is the resolution realistic? For example, a resolution to learn a language, without carving out the time or investing in resources to do so, is unrealistic, and we are ultimately setting ourselves up to fail.
Is the resolution time-bound? An open-ended resolution with no deadline will just allow us to keep moving the deadline in our heads. A deadline provides us with further focus.
In addition to ensuring that our resolutions are SMART. We need to monitor our progress towards our resolutions, ensuring that we are delivering what we set out to achieve, celebrating success, and reviewing areas for development. This is where resolutions can again fall-over. We can either be too harsh on ourselves for not achieving or too soft on ourselves allowing ourselves to give up.
Executive Coaching can support you with your resolutions, ensuring in the first instance that they are the correct resolutions for you and that they are SMART. In addition, Executive Coaching will help you hold yourself to account, ensuring that you deliver your resolutions, and you continue to grow and develop.