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Happy New Year! Now is the time when many people reflect on the past year, examine their life paths, and resolve to make meaningful change. Though you may start the year with the best of intentions (earning a promotion, losing weight, learning a new language), it’s easy to quickly lose steam after a month or two have passed by.

You might slip up once, then twice, then you toss the whole resolution out the window and tell yourself you’ll do better next year. But that doesn’t have to be the drill. It IS possible to commit to the resolutions you’ve made and actually make positive changes in your life.

Try these three steps:

1. Try 90 Days Instead

While this may seem like cheating, it is actually a good idea to commit to a goal for 90 days rather than an entire year. According to David Horsager, author of the Trust Edge, the attention-span and commitment of most people doesn’t usually stretch beyond three months.

However, he argues that most people can make huge strides in just 90 days. If you map out a plan for that stretch of time (outlining not just what you’re going to do, but how you’re going to do it), you can do everything from losing 20 pounds to writing a novel.

2. Lean On an Accountability Partner

Whether a trusted friend/co-worker or a professional coach, it’s a great idea to use an accountability partner. This is a person who knows about the commitment you’ve made, and agrees to hold your feet to the fire. Ideally, you and your accountability partner will have regular check-ins, so they can keep tabs on your progress and you have an added incentive to get things done.

3. Break Down Your Goals

When I’m coaching individuals or teams, I often advise them to take their goal and break it down into “bite-sized pieces.” When you only look at the end state you’re trying to achieve (write a book, get a raise, eat healthier, etc.), it can seem daunting or downright impossible.

Instead, set incremental goals that lead you to the BIG goal you’re trying to achieve. Whenever you hit one of your incremental goals, don’t forget to celebrate! This will give you a little extra incentive to keep at it.

It’s the New Year, and you want to start it out right. No matter what big-picture change you’re trying to make this year, you CAN get it done. Follow these steps, don’t be too hard on yourself if you have an off day, and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements. Happy 2020!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S NEW ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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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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be merry and bright

As this year draws to a close and a new year is beginning to poke over the horizon, my sincerest wish for you is to step into your true self this year and become what you’ve always wanted to be.

Whether that means a transitioning to a new career or company, shifting your mentality/outlook, or finally deciding to pursue one of your dreams, I hope you will be bold and courageous this year. 

Remember, you don’t have to do it on your own. Rely on trusted friends, close family members, or outside coaching to help guide and fortify you as you take your first steps into a brave new year.

If you’d like, I would be happy to help you get started. Attend one of my 2019 Insights Deeper Discovery workshops, read my book on leadership, or work with me one-on-one as a coach.

I’m here for you in any capacity that you need me.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.

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Don't lie to yourself. You CAN keep your New Year's resolution! Image courtesy of careersingovernment.com

Don’t lie to yourself. You CAN keep your New Year’s resolution! Image courtesy of careersingovernment.com

It happens to all of us, doesn’t it? We start out the new year with the best of intentions: “I’m going to exercise and eat better!” “I’m going to get more sleep!” “I’m going to learn another language!” But by week 3 or 4, we start to lose steam. Then, February hits and the resolutions of the month before begin to fade. By mid-February, most people have given up their resolutions and carry on as normal…

It doesn’t have to be that way! You CAN keep your resolutions; you CAN make permanent life changes this coming year. How? Here are four steps to set you up for success, but ultimately it all boils down to you. Do you want to succeed? Do you want to make a long-term difference? Then you can, and you will. Let’s get started…

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

You might have lofty goals (and I’d certainly like you to achieve them!), but it is crucial to be realistic. Don’t resolve to go to the gym every day, only eat fruits and vegetables, and cut out television entirely if you don’t think those goals are sustainable. Don’t aim to go “all out” for a month, and then crash back into your old habits. It’s much better to work towards something (i.e. start by going to the gym twice a week, and then increase your attendance as the year goes on) then to plunge in and back out again.

2. Break your goal into twelve parts

A year may seem like a long time, but a month goes by in the blink of an eye. If you have a substantial goal for the new year, break your goal into smaller pieces so that you feel a sense of accomplishment each month. For instance, if you’d like to write a book this year, make a plan like this:

January: Complete book outline and attend one writing class

February: Write chapter one; attend one writing class

March: Write chapter two

ETC.

Don’t forget to reward yourself in some small way after you achieve your monthly goal!

3. Hold yourself accountable

There are a few ways to check in on your goal progress. One effective method that I’ve used is to enlist the help of an “accountability partner.” This is a person who will check in on you every once in a while and make sure you’re on track. This could be a close friend, your mother, a co-worker, etc.–someone who isn’t afraid to keep you on the ball. In turn, you can offer to be their accountability partner.

If you’re a more private person and would prefer to tackle your resolution solo, consider setting up a series of notifications in your Google calendar, iCalendar, or whatever program you prefer. Create an event that says something like, “Have you completed X this week? Keep going!” and set a notification to remind you of the “event.” These regular check-ins will help keep your resolution top-of-mind. Just be sure they aren’t so frequent that you’ll simply delete them without a second glance.

4. Make your game plan

Really, this should be step number one, but I’m closing the list with this one so that it’s the first thing you do when you finish reading this post. MAKE A GAME PLAN. Don’t go into the new year with a vague resolution and no idea how you’ll achieve it. Take the time to sit and reflect about your goal. Ask yourself why you want to make a positive change in your life and then ask yourself how you are going to make that change. The how is important. This is where all the action comes into play. How will you reach your goal this year? What steps will you take? How will you accomplish those steps. Only by really thinking about the logistics of your resolution will you be able to achieve it successfully. By crafting a game plan (and posting it somewhere that you can see if every day), you’ll start to turn a vague wish into a reality.

Start today! The new year is coming up and I’d love for you to dive into it with confidence, knowing that you have the tools to achieve great things this year.

If you’d like additional help creating a road map for this year, please give me a call anytime and we can discuss your strategy.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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