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Beyond New Year’s Resolutions

January 4, 2014

For years, as many others do, I made a New Year’s Resolution. Giving up something, vowing to do more of something or starting to exercise more or eat a

Year of #Success

What’s your #resolution?

better diet. It took me until a few years ago to realize that doing that was for the most part pointless, for several reasons: 1) The resolution was too broad, not quantifiable or measurable; 2) I didn’t create a roadmap or plan for achieving my goal; 3) I didn’t check in to see how I was doing; 4) I didn’t learn from my failure for the next year.

Though my list has evolved and improved since the very first one–and become longer too. I’m ambitious by nature. My list generally includes three
categories: Career, Personal and Spiritual, but you should format your list in whatever way is meaningful to you and include anything and everything you’d like to target accomplishing. The key thing here is to know that this list is just for you, not to compare yourself to others, but to track the improvements you wish for yourself. Below are examples of types of goals I’ve included in the past:

Career: Increase salary/earnings by 10% by end of the year; Get certified in Lean SixSigma in Q1, 2014; Read one business book per quarter.
Personal: Exercise 3-4 times a week for at least one hour: Save 20% more per check this year; Go to bed 30 minutes earlier 3-4 times a week.
Spiritual: Meditate 4 times a week for 10 minutes; Go to church 2 times per month.

While targeting going to bed may seem like such a simple thing to achieve, we often don’t do it for any number of reasons, so it helps to put it on the list. In addition, some small, simple steps such as getting a few more minutes of sleep every night can make a huge improvement to your ability to think, process information and even your mood and productivity. Figuring out what those small steps are for you can have a huge positive impact on your life, career and health.

Two things you may consider doing with your list: Once you’ve drafted it, put it away and don’t look at it for a couple of months. Then track to see what you’ve

The Year of #Success

What’s your #Strategy for #Success?

done since you started, celebrate your wins and mentally note where you need more work, then don’t look at it again until the end of each quarter. Follow that same process for tracking and planning throughout the year. At the end of the year, take all the goals you didn’t accomplish and transfer them to the top of next year’s list, as your priorities, and add a few new ones to challenge yourself even more.

If you don’t reach all your goals, don’t sweat it. Remember it’s a process, not something that makes you instantly perfect. Just making the list and tracking it is an achievement in itself because it’s the first step in changing the way you think about goals, problem solving and keeping yourself accountable. Every little step and accomplishment has merit because regardless how minute, they are a valuable piece of the puzzle that can ultimately improve your life.

This year I didn’t accomplish as many goals as last year, and at first I was very disappointed, then I realized I’d learned some truly great things in spite. In leading a team for the first time, I learned valuable lessons about what it takes to be a leader, not just manager or supervisor. It takes a lot more than just expertise. It takes wisdom, vision and the ability to see the big picture as well as seeing the importance of the details and knowing how to lead from someplace in between so that everyone on the team is valued and included.

I also learned the value of recognizing the different ways that others approach work and what they need to succeed. Because we all have a different take on achieving our goals and a process for getting us there. I have to admit that sometimes I’m blinded by the compulsion to achieve my goals that I forget to consider how that process may impact others. It was nice to have someone on my team who could point that out to me and help me step back and be more objective–and considerate. Those lessons far outweigh having accomplished my entire list of goals.

This year was a banner year for learning and growing, not just as a leader, as a person. For that I am very grateful.

I hope this helps you to begin achieving the things you’ve been wanting to and to develop a process that works to truly improve your life, and your work.

Here’s to a year of success–however you choose to define it.


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