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Most verbs associated with resolutions are restrictive: quit, stop, lose, reduce and eliminate. The implication is that you need to improve or fix something that’s broken. People see New Year’s resolutions as a difficult exercise at best, requiring discipline, determination and willpower (not exactly energizing words). As a result, most people make resolutions on Jan. 1 and usually begin to break them by Feb. 1, as their commitment fades and enthusiasm wanes.
To help increase the chances of staying inspired (vs. disciplined) with your New Year’s revolutions, follow these 10 tips:
1. Remember that goals are dreams with a deadline.
Dreams are wants and desires without commitment. Goals are concrete and defined actions with commitment. Where do you ultimately want to be and what do you want to do? Write down three actionable goals that you can visualize and that you’ll achieve by the end of 2009. Keep these goals in front of you at all times so your daily actions will lead you to accomplishing them.
2. Positive attitude plus positive actions equal positive results.
While having a positive mental attitude is a good start, positive actions are what lead to success (vs. wanting, hoping and waiting for them to happen). Plan on how you will achieve each goal with mini-plans, mini-goals and corresponding dates for each.
4. Soar with your strengths.
Spend more time on projects, tasks or activities that accentuate your talents and less time on improving your weaknesses. (Again, delegate those tasks to others.) By focusing on what you are naturally good at, you’ll increase your self-esteem and be more successful and fulfilled professionally.
5. Be the organized executive.
Being overwhelmed with clutter can make you feel busier than you actually are. Start fresh by going through every piece of paper in every file with a goal to “trash it,” “box it” (future needs) or “refile it” (near-term needs). You’ll reduce your files by up to 75 percent. Then, begin or end each day with 20 minutes of organizing.
6. Analyze your to-do list.
Does your to-do list look more like an annual plan? Go through your list and prioritize it into “do it,” “delegate it” or “scratch it,” keeping in mind that you want to do more of what brings you personal, professional and monetary rewards and less of what steals your time. Make sure you add “want to do” items to your list, not just tasks that others ask you to do.
7. Compartmentalize your priorities.
Once you have decided on your priorities for the day, week, month and year, focus on the tasks at hand. Set up “firewalls” to keep out any distractions. It’s extremely difficult to concentrate on multiple projects and do them all well.
8. Change your view.
By reprogramming your brain to see opportunities vs. obstacles, challenges vs. chores and to celebrate what you’ve accomplished vs. feeling bad about what you haven’t, you’ll increase your energy, improve your attitude and raise your level of professional satisfaction.
9. Surround yourself with positive people.
Good attitudes are contagious, elevating organizations to heights previously thought unreachable. Bad attitudes are even more contagious, draining energy, accelerating discontent and destroying morale. Choose to spend your precious time with people who support you and celebrate your success.
10. Reinvent yourself.
Even performers like Madonna realize that change is cathartic, energizing and can be very good for a career. It’s easy to become stale if we don’t shake it up every once in a while—even in our dress and surroundings.
Remember that we have to accept that there is no way to accomplish all that we want to do and all that is asked of us by work, family, friends and organizations. Wherever we spend our precious resources—time, money and energy—is where we’ll get the greatest results. Decide first what results you want in 2009 and spend your time, energy and focus to achieve your New Year’s revolutions.
Michael Guld, president of The Guld Resource Group, is an author, speaker and entrepreneur whose business-development expertise lies in increasing sales performance, marketing exposure, employee productivity and creating a world-class service experience. He is the creator of “Talking Business With Michael Guld,” heard at www.talkingbiz.net. Contact him at 804-360-3122 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.