If you dig deep enough in your top desk drawer, you probably can find the remnants of resolutions of New Years past.
Scrawled or scribbled on pages torn from legal pads or printed neatly in some classy font that was chosen specifically for the task, there they are: The best intentions of the form.....
Scrawled or scribbled on pages torn from legal pads or printed neatly in some classy font that was chosen specifically for the task, there they are: The best intentions of the former you, in all their glory.
And beneath that dust, amidst those cracker crumbs and in those creased sheets of long-forgotten contemplation were your hopes and aspirations for improvement.
Some of them may even have been achieved. Forgive my cynicism if you somehow have harnessed the power of Tony Robbins or hammered your past lists like Bob Vila on an old Victorian.
To you, overachiever, I say, well done.
To everyone else that bothered to write down some thoughts about the future you, I say, well done – because, whether you hit the mark or failed miserably, you took a moment to attempt to create change. Whether you checked a single box off of your list doesn’t matter. You, after all, are the judge of your professional development.
But let’s say this is the year that you want to move your career forward, and that you’re sincerely committed to making it happen. You believe that 2014 can be your year to make that step, toward a new position or a new salary strata – and you’re prepared to make some changes that not only will be good for you, but improvements that also will stick.
OK, then, great. But where do you start?
Well, let’s look at the crumpled lists of the past. Why didn’t they work? When viewed with the utmost intellectual honesty, where did they fall short?
There are infinite reasons why resolutions fail. But the solitary reason that most resolutions go off to die in the back corner of a desk drawer is that they were created expressly for the purpose of creating an inventory of deficiency. Most people that make resolutions try to fix too many things, and ultimately the overambitious approach causes them to actually address too few.
New Year’s resolutions should not be the result of looking at a year and trying to fill it with every deficiency that comes to mind.
Rethink that process. If you haven’t had much luck with making resolutions stick, take a different route. Try making only one resolution for the first month or the first quarter – especially if it’s big and will require some time for adjustment.
Start by actually building out a chart that outlines the steps that you’ll need to take. Beneath any worthwhile goal are the strategies and actions that will be required to accomplish it.
But don’t go it alone.
Enlist a friend or trusted co-worker to partner with. Explain the role that you’d like them to play in achieving your goal, and ask that they keep you on task with a regular check-in.
Reciprocate, and offer that friend or colleague the same kind of support. Team up, and see if you can find a strength that balances out a weakness he or she might have.
Challenge yourselves to stay on pace and knock out your resolution. Keep each other on task and work to the goal.
And then create the steps for the next one, together.
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As always, stay classy.
Chris Krug is president of the progressive media communications firm No Limit Agency in Chicago. No Limit is a full-service agency whose practice focuses on strategy, brand management, creative campaigns and delivering unparalleled placement in the media. No Limit Agency works with some of the best-known brands in North America, and that’s not a coincidence. Contact Krug by calling 312-526-3996 or via email at [email protected].