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Reflection and Refraction: Resolutions…Making them work in 2013

It is now the 8th of January, 2013. The champagne has been poured and the New Year’s resolutions have been made. But when we make these resolutions, do we really stop and reflect on the goals we want to accomplish?

Often, people have the best of intentions to improve their metal, physical, and professional life. They want to lose weight or get that promotion they crave. However, completely accomplishable resolutions become impossible dreams when no time is taken to plan out how that goal will become accomplished.

“By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail”

-Benjamin Franklin

You may wonder why I say “impossible dreams.” That statement may sound deterrent or too negative, because no dream is impossible. What I really am stating is that we make the dreams impossible to fit in with our lifestyles… when we don’t incorporate them into our schedules through planning.

For example, you’re a financial professional that wants to get recognized or promoted within your business, or as a top level executive make a significant impact to the bottom line. You know the only way to get truly recognized is to make a strong fiduciary impact in your company. So you set your goal” or New Year resolution to “make an impact in your company.” While the intent is pure, very little objectivity surrounds this goal, except for core emotion and ambitious sentiment. Since no plan has been set in stone or…written down, as time goes by, you will find in most cases you don’t have the time to accomplish this goal. This is because coupled with your everyday daily activities and tasks, you have unforeseen items that constantly get in the way of accomplishing your “new resolution”. Eventually that goal to “make an impact” will fade as you constantly have to deal with the next job task.

Now if you made a plan with your goal “to make an impact in your company by calendaring one hour a day to review financial statements or bills and find where the company could be saving,” then you are defining planning. Let’s say you make the time from 4:30-5:30every day. This ensures you are setting an instance for that task. Eventually it will become a part of the job, and you will find ways to save, be rewarded through the results you achieve, and if in a VP or like financial role by showing initiative and getting results that promotion that you crave may just occur! While it may seem simple, calendaring the specific task makes it accomplishable.

First step is planning. Here are some other steps to help you succeed.

  1. Focus on one resolution, rather several;
  2. Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be;
  3. Don’t wait to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day;
  4. Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once;
  5. Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you that you have to report to;
  6. Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait the goal to be finally completed;
  7. Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits;
  8. Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
  9. Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.

And finally, don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun and laugh at yourself when you slip, but don’t let the slip hold you back from working at your goal. 

There is one side note that I should mention. In accomplishing any goal, it is never wrong to ask for help along the way. Maybe you already work 50+ hours per week, barely spend time with the family as it is, hardly ever see your friends anymore and just can’t or find it hard to balance your life at all or give any more of your time to your company. Then it is not wrong to have an outside resource lend you a hand as long as it is mutually beneficial for you and that resource.