New year, new you? If only it were that simple. Research shows that most New Year’s resolutions fail in the first weeks. How can you achieve your new professional goals in 2020?
A brand new year. Sure, January 1st is nothing more than an arbitrary date on the calendar – just like any other day, really. But for many people it’s a chance to set new goals in both their professional and private lives. As human beings we have a need for that sense of new beginnings.
Here comes the reality check: 80 percent of our New Year’s resolutions fail in the first six weeks, according to Business Insider. The reasons: the goals we set for ourselves are either unrealistic, too vague or we just don’t believe in them enough.
Let’s say you are one of those CEOs that struggle with time management. You tell yourself: “This year I’m going to make more time to reflect on where my business is going”. Great resolution, but chances are that a few weeks later, you still find yourself chasing from meeting to meeting, with just as little time to reflect on your business as the year before.
The problem here is that your goal was simply too massive and not defined enough. A much referred to tool for goal setting is the SMART-method, first mentioned in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. In short, it means that a goal should always be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. It's a great tool if you want to make your New Year's resolutions more achievable, because it breaks them down into tiny pieces.
Instead of just saying you want more time to reflect, make it as concrete as possible. Say, for instance, from now on, every Friday morning from 9 till 11 am I’m going to make time for reflection. Whether it is by taking a walk out of the office, talking to people that inspire me or reading a great book.
The pressure of constant self-improvement
Whether you're setting new goals for yourself this year or not, always remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect. For the modern professional, the constant need for self-improvement can be pretty pressuring.
Sure, if there’s something you’re unhappy about, any attempt to change your behavior is good – in any month, not just January. But bear in mind that you don’t have to become a completely different person in the coming year.