At this time of the year, many of my clients struggle to ensure that they keep moving forward with their goals and end the year with a sense of accomplishment. If you feel yourself getting caught up in the day-to-day busyness of life and losing focus, here are a few steps you can take to ensure your resolutions remain intact:
1) Review Your Goals
Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) and review them often to ensure that they are broken down into actionable tasks. Having a goal that is too large often feels overwhelming and easy to give up on.
My children’s school is participating in a reading incentive program for the next four weeks. They are required to read and log a certain amount of minutes each week so they can reach their classroom goal and win a prize. My second-grader needs to read for 2.5 hours each week. As you can imagine, this goal felt a little overwhelming to an 8-year-old. Once I explained that she only has to read for 25 minutes a day for 6 days (and can even skip a day!), it felt much more attainable. She is a great reader and often reads for much more than 25 minutes anyway, but the thought of a big goal was almost paralyzing.
I often go through the same exercise with my clients. If they are trying to increase sales volume to a certain number by the end of the year, for example, we break it down into weekly goals and come up with tasks that will help them reach their goal.
2) Focus on the Habit, Not the Goal
It is much easier to stick to something you can control. In the example above, my clients don’t have full control over their sales volume, but one of the habits they can use to reach the goal is to make a certain number of calls each day. They have full control over making the calls and whether or not they do it becomes their choice. If they stick to it and make their daily calls, they will inevitable reach their goal.
3) Do Something Every Day
One of the easiest ways to start a new habit, is to commit to doing it for at least 5 minutes every day. This is how Karen Cheng famously learned how to dance in a year. Daily actions build habits. Once you have a good “chain” going, you wont want to break it. This is Jerry Seinfeld’s famous “don’t break the chain” productivity secret.
Success is often a series of small accomplishments that lead to great results. By following the three steps above, you will achieve your 2014 goals and resolutions.
This article was originally published on AMA Playbook