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Another year nearly gone means another year to create and accomplish! New Years is a great time to take a look at your own personal and professional development, and decide where next to chart your course. What’s the best way to keep these New Year’s Resolutions? Whether career-oriented or personal, setting attainable goals is important for fulfillment and vitality.

That leaves us with the question that’s always asked: what are the best ways to keep your resolutions? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Everything Starts with Realistic Goals

Taking stock of where you’re at in your life and where you can go in the year ahead requires a good timeline! Look back at your development throughout the previous year and reflect upon how much you’d like to get done in the year ahead. Incremental challenges to increase productivity are often attainable and great motivational tools. Did you learn the basics of a new skill for professional development? Set out to become an intermediate or advanced learner!

2. Make It Visual

Often mental resolutions can wither or be pushed aside by more urgent projects. Keep written reminders for yourself in calendars and planners of the long-term goal you’re working toward. If you’re known to respond to structure like this, take it a step further and set intermittent and smaller and deadlines to meet them to keep your steppingstones clear.

3. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Achieving any part of a year-long resolution should be celebrated! Brains respond well to positive reinforcement. Like self-care, self-celebration is an important part of seeing resolutions through to their end. Reward good behavior and accomplishing tasks with fun rewards, like a favorite dessert or a small weekend getaway. 

4. Collaborate

Friends and coworkers may just be the added umph you need. A group mentality is a great external motivating factor in getting work done that needs to be done. Collaborators help keep deadlines firm and goals clear. At the same time, sharing resolutions can foster closer and improved working relationships between you and your colleagues. If your resolution requires seeking out a new skill or group of people, enlisting help outside your existing circles to meet resolutions can provide excellent opportunities to network as well.

Do you feel inspired to tackle your resolutions head on? Sometimes all it takes is a little push. I wish you good fortune in the new year! If you’d like a little more guidance, I’m here to help.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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achieve your goals this year

This past year was astronomically rare. We experienced two blue moons (a full moon twice in one month) in the same year. The next blue moon will not occur until 2018. When you think about this spectacular and rare phenomenon, you can relate it to your own life: What are you doing that is as bold and exceptional as a blue moon? What have you accomplished this past year that goes above and beyond the norm?

Maybe you’re thinking to yourself: “Gee, I’m not sure I’ve done anything too out-of-the-ordinary this year.”  If that’s the case, don’t worry! You still have an entire quarter to accomplish some of your goals and make some extraordinary changes. Here are some tips for making the rest of the year shine:

  1. Re-focus your goals. Do you remember what your New Year’s resolutions were for this year? Did you have a list of things that you wanted to accomplish in 2015? If your list seems daunting right now, take a step back. Think about what you can realistically get done in the next few months and focus your energy on those items. Do NOT beat yourself up over things you can’t accomplish this year. That kind of negative thinking will only weigh on your shoulders as you attempt to refocus your goals.
  2. Make goals! On the flip side, if you didn’t really have any concrete goals this year, it’s not too late to make them. Spend a few quiet minutes jotting down ideas for what you’d like to accomplish in the next three months. Include work-related items as well as non-work items. Do you want to reorganize your closet? Get in better shape? Find two new clients? Master social media? Spend more time with your family? Once you’ve decided on a couple goals, outline a plan on how to reach them.
  3. Find an accountability partner. Sure, you might have good intentions when you set out to achieve your goals, but you might lose steam as the weather gets chillier and the nights longer (I know I do!). That’s where your accountability partner comes in. Find a close friend or family member who is willing to push you to achieve your goals. They should check in regularly to see how you’re doing. And hey, they might even want to participate in end-of-the-year goal setting!
  4. Don’t let obstacles stop your momentum. Sure, life happens. You might, for whatever reason, get derailed from your goals. Get back on the tracks and keep moving! Even if that means down-sizing your goal into something a little more manageable, that’s okay. This is a test in adaptability and mental agility. Do you have what it takes to compartmentalize your road blocks and focus on the bigger picture? I’m sure you do. If you need a little assistance in overcoming obstacles, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for guidance.

 

Good luck in the final quarter!

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