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Can You Feel Your New Year's Resolve Slipping?
Making Adjustments to Achieve Goals
Most of us begin the new year with lots of plans and goals, but it often does not take long before the day-to-day reality of our working lives sets in – especially in a busy January – and we forget all about them. There is not anything intentional about this process, of course, just that it is so easy to find yourself falling back into the same old routines that you have used before. There is a reason that old habits are so tough to break.
Despite this tendency, your hopes and dreams for the next 11 months don't have to turn into regrets and missed opportunities; you just have to be careful about keeping a closer eye on them. Here are five quick steps you can take if you feel your 2012 resolve towards reaching your goals slipping away:
- Assess why you are having trouble reaching your 2012 goals. It is no good to simply say, "Things are not working out," because that does not give you a starting point to find answers to challenges. Instead, you should try to find distinct reasons that you have not been able to make progress (such as timing or other priorities) so that you can decide on a better course of action going forward.
- Make new goals if necessary. Maybe your goals have turned out being too ambitious, or you discover that you have made too many of them at once. It's fine to come to this realization, so long as you do not let it all go back. If needed, make your list of 2012 goals smaller, or re-prioritize them into something that's either more realistic or more in line with your bigger priorities. doing so will ultimately only cost you more time and stress later.
- Keep track of the details. The more you know about how you are reaching your goals on a day-to-day basis, then the easier it is going to be for you to eventually achieve them. Like all things, being successful in your 2012 goals is a matter of managing the details, not just setting the right target. Figure out what you have to do regularly to achieve your goal, and then start tracking your progress frequently enough to ensure you will eventually reach what you are aiming for.
- Look for minor corrections. Small changes are easier to make than giant ones, so do yourself a favor and look for small, gradual shifts that can build up to bigger progress. It is much easier to decide you are going to start having fruit for snacks during the week, or to show up to work 15 minutes earlier, for example, than it is to remove 500 calories a day from your diet, or decide to work an extra 10 hours per week. Small changes eventually turn into big results, so do not be afraid to pace yourself.
- Get help from friends, family, and colleagues. Whether your goal is personal or professional, there are almost certainly friends, family members, and professional contacts you can count on to give you support and encouragement. As I have written in the past, the more people who know about your goal and will hold you accountable to it, the more likely you are to actually achieve it. Just remember that this works both ways: Just as you want the people in your life to support you and your 2012 goals, you should go out of your way to help them reach theirs, too.
We are reaching that point of the year where a lot of people will start to consider the goals, plans, and New Year's resolutions they recently made as pure fantasy that "just ended up not being realistic." Your future is too important for you to become one of them. Use these tips to stay focused and make adjustments to your goals as needed, and you will undoubtedly find a new truth: that even though you might not accomplish everything you wanted to this year, you will finish a lot more than you would have if you just let your resolve to do more in 2012 slip away.
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