After all the uncertain events this year, you may be anxious about advancing career opportunities, pending work schedules, or possibly, even feeling boldness in your training routine for a spring marathon. As is customary in any new year’s planning, many of us make personal and professional resolutions for the future without enough resources lined up for fulfillment. In reality, promises to yourself are the action vehicles that create the potential for a different future. About 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8 percent of them actually achieve them, from a study by the University of Scranton. Why?
Most are made without enough realistic thinking. Any promise or commitment to yourself is not only how you achieve success; but, how you coordinate actions with others. There are components of commitments that make them feasible such as, the following:
• Having a clear vision of the final outcome you desire; and, the expected steps for achievement. Write your vision on poster board or in a simple Word document so that you see it daily as a reminder, boosting your resolve.
• Define a specified period for fulfillment; plus, any other sacrifices you may have to make along the way such as, reserving a night for homework from a night college course.
• Enlist competent individuals for assistance whether it’s in financial planning or a career makeover. Don’t be afraid to have sincere conversations with all involved, setting clear standards of expected goals and when they are due.
• When you have smaller goals to achieve the outcome, give each a distinct priority. This will assist you in avoiding overwhelmedness in looking at too many goals. And, you will feel more successful with small achievements along the way.
• Design in some flexibility along the journey to success; and, don’t expect perfection. Placing pressure on yourself to produce something stupendous can make it harder to generate anything at all. “A lot of people sort of secretly feel, ‘I’m not creative,’ but everyone is creative to a certain degree. Just try your best and see what happens.” says Carrie Barron, a board-certified psychiatrist/psychoanalyst of the Columbia College of Physicians. Last in here, be willing to adjust your timeline in case of unexpected events that impact the final success.
• Discontinue using statements that base your happiness on things or events in the future such as, “When I get that next stereo, I’ll be happy”, or, “When I take that cruise to Greece, I’ll be happy.” Expressions like these negatively impact what you want to achieve by putting off future happiness on tangible objects or purchasable experiences.
• Use positive psychology and declarative language with yourself and others as you work toward the outcome. Be bold in declaring what you care about and nurture it. Passion is a prerequisite for producing meaningful results. During any tough times, it will be your passion and personal investment that carries you through to completion.
• When you encounter problems don’t magnify the new difficulties into something larger than it is. Magnification of problems has become a hallmark of TV shows and the news. Remember how much eggs were maligned in previous years? There are no trophies for excessive worry and angst. Identify the skills and strengths you bring to your problem solving, enlist other key people where needed. Then, spend your energies in thoughtful action.
• Practice ‘critical thinking’ about the challenges or risks that are ahead of you. Gather and assess pertinent information, test the information against relevant criteria and any new standards that may have come into place. And, be humble enough to listen carefully to the experts you have chosen to work with you on your ultimate success.
“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”