It is common at this time of the year to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. People will establish a list of resolutions and many will moan about the resolutions they failed to complete from last year. Others look back, pat themselves on the back for what they have accomplished. So why the difference? The answer is simple, those who succeed approach the resolution process and establish personal, documented steps and goals. What follows may seem like a long lost secret to some, but much of the content I first read about over 30 years ago (when I was v e r y young) and has been reinforced with more recent reading.
The first step is to reflect on what went well, what you need to improve and what is not as important as once you thought it was. Of those things that went well, identify what actions to carry over into the new year. Also identify skills that were used to achieve those successes and how you can use those skills for future success. On the improvement side, focus only on the things that cause failure. None of us can do everything perfectly. Life is too short to fix everything, so instead work on your strengths and only those weaknesses that directly contribute to failure. Everything in the middle somehow works.
Identify goals and achievements you accomplished. Too often we dwell on failures. People rarely fail at everything every time. You probably achieved some successes. Concentrating on what you have achieve builds confidence to move forward. Enumerating skills you have overlooked in the first step helps you focus on your strengths.
After you have reflected on your successes and failures, your achievements and accomplishments it is time to decide where you want to go. The first two steps helped you identify where you came from, and where you are. This step sets your course for the coming year. In this process determine not only what goals and accomplishments you seek to achieve, but also task steps for each activity. In that process think about who you need to reach out to for help and what resources you need to assemble to be successful. There is no point developing a network if you fail to call upon them for help. The most important activity in this step is to write down your goals and action steps. At this point the most important thing to do is document each task step for every goal. As you work on this portion, it is important to write down action steps for every goal (see my blog about the Three Pitch Rule).
The final step is to schedule time periodically to check your progress. Grab your check lists in what ever format works for you and compare your progress against your checklists. Identify tasks on your list you can complete before your next check up and put them on your calendar. By scheduling task steps you give them a level of importance that increases the likelihood they will be completed.
Now is the time to act. At the end of year, when you sit down to make your 2015 resolutions you will find you kept your 2014 resolutions if you follow these simple steps. Seize the day, New Year’s Day to accomplish this simple task. There is no requirement to have dozens of resolutions. Focus on the one or two or three goals that will really impact your life and document them. Do it now. Perfection is not required for your plan. Do it now and adjust along the way. In the end you may find you accomplished more than you imagined, but only if you take the time to follow these steps. Really, do it now! Happy New Year.
I just posted a short slide deck on SlideShare. Check it out: http://www.slideshare.net/ChrisStCyr1/achieve-29982036