New Year, Better You
by Kesi Stribling, ATS Editor
It’s a brand-new year and of course, we all have at least one resolution or goal to improve something about ourselves or our circumstances. A new career, new adventure, new life all sound like great things for which to strive. But, how many times have you resolved to change at the start of the new year, only to fall short and neglect the promise you are so eagerly committed to keep? No matter the goal, whether it’s simple or complicated, the frustration we feel when an interruption comes and challenges our commitment to the goals – often a lack of resources or will power – causes the resolutions to fall by the wayside.
No matter your goals, having the right perspective and plan can make the difference in whether you succeed or stay frustrated. Following are some tips to stay the course.
Pick one goal to focus on and pursue it
Having a checklist of numerous resolutions can be overwhelming, and unrealistic. During my yearly personal strategic planning session, I identify the areas that may need improvement or adjusting, and prioritize the “to do” list, selecting just a few to focus on and pursue. Using the same approach to a New Year’s resolution can prove an efficient way to identify the top 1 or 2 concerns, allowing an opportunity to make real progress, since you are not overwhelmed with a laundry list of action items.
For example, if your goal is to get a new job, make that your primary focus and work on a plan for doing so, such as tweaking your job search process, updating your LinkedIn profile, working with a career coach, or actively participating in a networking event that draws potential employers in your job industry.
Get a support system
It is not always easy to pursue goals, and it can be downright daunting when you face challenges on your own, with no one to spur you on, or give you a little insight. Put together a support system, your personal cheerleading team, to help you with your resolutions and encourage you when difficult times arise.
For the new entrepreneur, your team of cheerleaders should include a mentor, at least one person who has expertise in your industry and viewed as an ally rather than a competitor, and a good friend who does not judge you and supports your dreams, but always tells you the truth. If you are graduating with an advanced degree this spring, your support system should include a trusted academic advisor, campus career center, and members of your professional or civic organizations who know you well. They are all resources for potential career opportunities, as well as resources for changes in the industry that may have occurred while you were pursuing your Master’s or Doctorate degree.
No matter your goals, having the right perspective and plan can make the difference in whether you succeed or stay frustrated.
Celebrate the accomplishments
While pursuing a goal, it is always good to celebrate successes. In a culture where instant gratification is the norm, we can often be hard on ourselves if we don’t see immediate results. Focusing on the end-result without learning from and enjoying the process adds pressure, and you may, in frustration, give up on your goals.
Take a moment to appreciate each milestone and celebrate it! Take yourself out to lunch at a favorite restaurant, put on some great music and dance, check in with your cheerleaders, or give a token of appreciation to the mentor who coached and encouraged you until you reached your goal.
Shake off the setbacks
It is easy to celebrate our accomplishments, but it is often hard to be cheerful when we encounter a setback. Feelings of failure and frustration can erode progress made. While it can be difficult, view your setback as an opportunity for a do-over, and work on getting it right the next time.
Instead of abandoning a goal goes awry, use the setback as an opportunity for assessment and moving forward with your resolution. Evaluating why and how you detracted from your goal can help you zero in on how you can resume your progress, change your approach, or even abandon it if necessary.
Become the change you seek
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Become the change you seek in the world.” As it relates to maintaining your New Year’s resolutions throughout 2015 and beyond, your attitude will determine your ability to stay the course until your goal is fulfilled.
A popular practice is to create a vision board, a visual of what you want in life that you can look at to encourage you, or reinforce commitment. Whether you create a traditional vision board, or take to Pinterest or Instagram to create one online, they can be helpful in helping you identify your goals and motivate you to press on toward them.
What are your goals for this year? Leave us a reply.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on ATS on January 5, 2015.
About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling
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