Rededicate to resolutions
January is a huge milestone for many people. They are ready to lose weight, get healthy, focus anew on their relationships and build their businesses. And so, we begin the year with our New Year's Resolutions and Good Intentions.
However, 90 percent resolutions fail by the end of February because people set goals without actually figuring out the steps it will take to achieve them. Today, you have a chance to let go of the guilt. We just observed the Chinese New Year. Use this day to celebrate your progress and set new goals.
A resolution is a promise you make to yourself, but a goal entails making a plan. Sometimes goals are things that make you stretch, and sometimes goals are things you already know how to do, but you need a lot of structure in order to truly get them done. To recite the alphabet, you can't go from A to Z and skip all the letters in between.
1. Begin by celebrating what you already have done. If you committed to sending out five resumes a week but have sent only three a week so far, don't call yourself a failure. Instead, recognize that you already have started the process for change.
2. Choose a small number of doable goals and write them down. If they are not in writing, then they are only wishes. Stay away from grandiose goals, such as climbing Mount Everest. Instead create a doable goal. Work up to walking 10,000 steps per day, adding five pounds to a backpack each week, until you get strong enough and create enough endurance to climb Mount Everest.
3. Ask yourself: Is there one thing in my life that if I did it differently on a consistent basis would make the greatest positive difference in my life? Small changes can create a "ripple effect" of widening into another small change, followed by another, and lead to other related changes. Next thing you know, you've generated a truly large change.
4. Generate larger changes by using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific) goals.
5. Once you have determined your SMART goals, begin listing the steps you need to take to meet them. For instance, if you want a new job by June 1, you need to create or revise a resume, begin reviewing jobs available, start networking on- and off-line and create an application process for yourself.
6. Next, create an accountability (discipline) structure. Examples include hiring a coach, joining a job support group and having a partner or buddy who will regularly ask, "What have you done toward your goal?" Pay attention to external deadlines to increase your motivation.
7. Get support from other people. Tell family and friends, "This is the year this project is going to get done, and unfortunately, that means I will have to say no to doing other things with you from time to time." Business people sometimes call this "switch costs," meaning, "I gain something with a new action, but I also lose something else." Make sure you don't focus on your goal to the exclusion of all else, or the goal quickly will lose its appeal.
8. Use powerful positive statements. Instead of, "I'm a procrastinator," substitute, "I work steadily toward my goals."
9. Keep the vision in mind. Visualize yourself at your new job, with a window to the outside world, and remind yourself of how you will feel when you get it.
10. Reward yourself at each step instead of beating yourself up. Some people view achieving the goals or resolutions as a test you either pass or fail. It's not good to "should" on yourself. These are your goals and no one else's. Even if you don't meet the goal this time, it doesn't have to go away forever. That's like falling down and deciding that because you fell, you can never walk again.
All this sets you up to be successful because it allows you to become more realistic about what is truly attainable and what you really want to do. By calling your resolutions plans, you already have acknowledged they can change. It's not too late to rededicate yourself to those New Year's resolutions. You have 10 more months to fulfill those goals.
Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed., is a certified career coach specialized in helping people manage major life and work transitions. Contact her via her website, www.TransitioningYourLife.com.
The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women's Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like further assistance, make a counseling appointment; a donation of $35 is requested.