It is this time of the year again: Christmas is at the doorstep, and another year will come to an end very soon. For many it’s a perfect time to reflect:
• How has this year been for you?
• What, if anything, should you do differently next year to make it (even) better?
This year may have had its highs and lows. There is probably a lot you can be proud of and a lot to be grateful for. There may be things which you have been putting off, and which you really want to change next year – isn’t a New Year a great opportunity to start on a blank page?
The key to happiness and sustainable success next year is clarity about what really matters to you and then to act consistently accordingly.
Here are five steps to make next year (even) better:
Step 1 for Better New Year Resolutions:
Make an appointment with yourself
Really take some quiet time and reflect: what do you really want in your professional and personal life? Don’t just think it, ink it: writing down your thoughts and ideas in your coaching journal will not only ease the process of gaining clarity, it will also help let things sink in deeply. And of course in the future it will be very insightful to go back to what was important to you a while ago: is it still that important or have things changed?
One of the best ways to approach this is getting clarity about your core values: what really drives you? What guidance do you have to judge what’s good or bad, right or wrong? What makes you get out of bed every day and do the things you do?
I have developed a “value exercise” which I will be happy to share with you if you are a client or subscriber of my blog.
Step 2 for Better New Year Resolutions:
Think about Direction, not Goals
One of the big mistakes people make particularly in the Western hemisphere is to pursue the “I-will-be-happy-when”-approach. “I will be happy when I get the promotion, I will be happy when I have one million dollars, I will be happy once I retire.”
Consequently most of these people remain unhappy all the way while trying to get there. And if they eventually get there, they might find that achieving this goal still does not make them happy. Sad.
Instead, ask yourself “what do I need to do to be happy everyday?”
Let your inner compass guide you day by day in your professional and personal life instead of hectically chasing SMART goals. Once you are clear about your core values and what really matters, decide: what are the critical few priorities next year? If nothing else gets done, what are the things that will really make a difference when accomplished? Focus on this and put distractions on your “Do Not list”.
Step 3 for Better New Year Resolutions:
Are you a “I want it all, and I want it now” type? Personally, I tend to underestimate how the little daily activities like answering emails, commuting to a meeting, or writing a proposal add up and at times keep me from doing more of the truly important things.
Most people I work with are ambitious, and they tend to overcommit, respectively they underestimate how many of the 24 hours each day they really have available. Consequently, they add more to their agendas than they can handle. It’s good to be ambitious, but regularly accomplishing less than expected leads to chronic frustration.
You may want to go back to the old exercise of logging your activities for a week or so to see how you really spent your time.
Step 4 for Better New Year Resolutions:
Remind yourself daily what your critical few priorities are until following your inner compass will have become a habit.
Easier said than done, I know. Thus, here are a few tricks:
Get support. Get structural support and people support.
A structure can be your daily routine like starting the day with doing what matters instead of checking emails in bed. Perhaps you want to use various time management tools or apps. If you choose working with tools, use those that work well for you. There’s a plethora of tools out there, but there is no one size fits all solution. What works well for me might be useless for you.
Surround yourself with positive people who support you. This can be your spouse, a friend, or a business buddy. Stay away from people who are jealous, try to put you down, or spread negative energy. Supporters will be your sounding boards for new ideas, and they can help you holding yourself accountable. ― Needless to say that a coach as a professional supporter who is non-judgmental and unbiased can be very useful and help you accomplish things faster…
Most importantly, understand how your thinking affects your actions. We all know that in order to lose weight we just need to eat less and exercise more. It really is this simple. We all know the theory. What keeps us from acting on this knowledge are our limiting beliefs, in this case limiting beliefs about food.
If your behaviour is unproductive, what are the hidden benefits of these behaviours? I am sure there is something that you believe is good about it, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it, would you?
What enabling beliefs do you need to adopt instead to produce more productive behaviours consistently?
Better beliefs in the food example are for instance “food is nothing to get feelings from”, “food is fuel for my body and contains important building blocks”, or “meditation is a better stress relief than chocolate”.
I’ll be happy to discuss with you how you can apply this concept to your specific situation. I know that overcoming limiting beliefs can be challenging at times, but there are helpful methods avialble. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in a consultation.
Step 5 for Better New Year Resolutions: Be aware of your progress and celebrate successes
Our world has become increasingly fast-paced. Many people rush from one activity to another without even noticing what they have already accomplished.
Consider having a measuring system to monitor your progress, and acknowledge your success. There is no benefit in hiding your light under a bushel. On the contrary, “taking in the good” is neuroscientifically proven to have positive effects on your brain!
To your success!
related articles: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Gerrit Pelzer is a Leadership Advisor & Executive Coach who helps leaders create better results through people. If you would like a personal consultation on how you can achieve what you really want (not only for the New Year), please contact him now:
phone: +66-2 107 2025