The resolutions that come with the New Year have a well-earned reputation for causing frequent stress and frustration. This can be particularly true for busy professionals due to the demands of business travel and the irregular schedules this frequently requires. Revisiting a resolution while it is still fresh - whether about a more healthy lifestyle, moderating/minimizing particular behaviors, or reaching a particular goal - can help improve our understanding of the struggles faced so far while allowing for an early year course correction as necessary.
One of the keys to successful, attainable resolutions is making them specific and realistic. In the business world, a broader approach emphasizes the SMART technique to goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. "I want to be more healthy" might be a worthy goal, but what does this look like in practice? How will you measure what a healthier life looks like? Do you have a particular weight loss or fitness goal against which you can measure your progress? These checkpoints can provide useful and important information, as well as help boost enthusiasm for the resolution by demonstrating progress along the way towards a long-term goal. Perhaps you’ve been a road warrior for years, or perhaps this is a new lifestyle, but having a relevant goal that fits your current lifestyle is critical so that it is realistic and within reach.
Why aren't things working?
Another key part of evaluation - especially if things aren't going well so far - is to think about the sources of difficulty in reaching your goals. Why have you not been able to meet these goals so far? Have you taken your resolutions seriously enough? Do you have a specific plan in place that will allow for you to meet your goals? Is your schedule - for instance, demanding business travel commitments or irregular hours - making progress difficult?
While there might not be an easy fix, figuring out a way to incorporate changes to your daily routine can help a lot when it comes to resolutions. Most resolutions, after all, usually involve trying to change particular aspects of our lives, and making a commitment to change can be difficult.
After evaluating the why, it might be time to change your goals, and that is okay. If the daily grind does seem to be a factor, then adjusting and finding an incremental way to make that progress is critical.
Why am I doing this?
Last but not least, another thing to consider is why the resolution was made in the first place. Examining the initial motivation behind the desire to change can be revealing, with positive-change and individually-driven based goals usually being the easiest to generate enthusiasm for.
If someone else is the major reason behind the desired change - or if it is made out of guilt rather than a positive desire to improve on something - it can frequently end up in failure to tackle the underlying issue as well as cause resentment and anger in relationships within your life. On the other hand, personalizing your goals and making them specific to your circumstances can go a long way towards success by owning the process of achievement and success!
And don't forget to mark your progress along the way. We often get so wrapped up in the day to day or hitting project milestones for a client, but taking time for ourselves is important. Being reminded of your success towards a long-term goal can generate lots of enthusiasm and positive momentum!