It’s a New Year and therefore a new list of goals, resolutions and desires have been drafted, started and possibly even already abandoned! The traditional start to any new chapter, we begin with high hopes and expectations of grand achievements. As the year progresses, many of these items will be adjusted—if not all together dropped—as we slip back into day-to-day routines. Most resolutions require big or small changes in behaviors—behaviors that can be sustained by applying basic change management principles.
Well-coordinated change enables you to achieve higher performance through a sustained period of time. By investing some thought before approaching your new resolutions, the transition period will be less painful, leading you to your desired future state within a timeline that meets your intentions. Spend some time defining and understanding not only the desired outcomes you hope to achieve, but what your initiatives means to you. Follow some of the steps below to ensure 2016 is a year of change that makes your resolutions a reality.
Value and Vision
You may know what you want to achieve, but have you defined the “why” as well as the “what” for what success looks like for you?
Taking the time to align your goals to your personal values and long term vision of your life encourages a commitment that’s rooted deeper than a listed hope. For instance, maybe your resolution to lose weight is connected to your desire to be healthy and present for your future grandchildren.
Write down your resolutions and how they connect to your long term vision. From there dive a bit deeper to determine what outcomes you’d like to see from those items.
For example, if it’s losing weight: Is there a number you want to hit? Is there a feeling you want to experience? Is there a physical test you want to pass? Is there a clothing item you want to buy? These smaller goals become part of your “realization” timeline that can be considered milestones with associated dates throughout the year. As your track towards each item you’ll progress towards fuller achievements. It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate your small successes on the path to the big win.
Now that you’ve written down your path to success, have you aligned your lifestyle to meet your resolutions? As you take control of your time and focus, some work needs to done to ensure you’re making the space for victory. Plan your week with time in your day-to-day to work on your identified milestones; dedicating space to these goals means prioritizing items that you’ve already declared important.
Maybe this year you’re aiming for a certification that will provide new opportunities in your career: Schedule time outside of work for self-study, find a boot camp course and allocate personal budget to ensure you can attend, set a time for designated practice tests, and locate a study group that fits your current schedule.
As for those factors outside of your control, the best defense is a great plan: Assess any risks or impacts prior to beginning your goal (required to work overtime, unable to find a study partner, failing more practice tests then planned) as well as potential resolutions. When these challenges threaten to prevent you from meeting your milestones you’ll be able to determine a workaround instead of giving up. Don’t forget to schedule some time to check in on your current progress and realign your timeline as needed.
Communication and Your Change Network
Who’s in your corner as you take on your new goals? Friends, partners, peers and parents are all potential persons to rely on. By rallying a team around your vision you’ll find the support you need to achieve your goals.
You want to save money this year: Inform your significant other of your new budget, ask friends to help in picking activities that are free, ask your coworkers to help keep you aligned for your next raise. Pick people that not only consistently motivate you, but those that you respect and depend on to give you hard feedback when needed.
Once you’ve picked your team and shared your goals, continue to keep them in the loop! Communication is crucial to ensuring you’re receiving ongoing support; engage them with your success as well as your slips. This community provides a consistent network to cheer you on, remind you of your goals and assist you in finding workarounds when you face obstacles.
Whether your 2016 resolutions are personal, professional or a combination of the two, by applying the above change management practices you’ll be able to see a plan turn into a reality. Investing in your goals up front not only sets you up for successful completion, it ensures that newly formed habits are sustained long term. Turn this New Year into a turning point in how you approach improvements in your life.