The beginning of the new year is filled with enthusiasm and excitement for what the year ahead might bring. You might already be thinking about the new email etiquette techniques or meeting skills you’re eager to implement in the coming weeks, but will these habits stick? As we progress further into January and the months beyond, our new year’s resolutions seem to fade. So much so that January 17th is also known as the day we are most likely to ditch our new year’s resolutions. But not this year…
Before you get started setting your resolutions for the new year, take a step back and look at what is and isn’t working for your business and your personal life. Write out the things that are working well for you and the things that might need improvement. Some questions you could ask yourself: Am I leaving work on time? Am I spending enough time on my personal growth/with family/doing the things I enjoy doing? Am I looking after myself? Are my projects progressing the way they should?
Once you’ve answered your questions and evaluated what you can continue doing and what needs some work and fine-tuning, you can start putting some plans together. Keep in mind that it’s better to tackle one problem at a time and embracing Productivity Ninja mono-tasking, rather than multi-tasking. Also, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time – finishing a website redesign in a week, won’t be beneficial for your motivation or your productivity. Stay realistic with your timeline and make sure you’re giving yourself enough space and time to recharge.
Think Productive founder and best-selling author, Graham Allcott, also put together a video outlining his Productivity Ninja approach to not sucking at your new year’s resolutions and being able to stick to them.
Now that you know how to start planning for the new year, here are some of the most popular new year’s resolutions to inspire you for your own.
1) Open a Savings Account
One of the most popular resolutions is saving money. A healthy emergency fund protects you personally, for when life’s giving you a bit of a knock back.
While taking stock of what’s going well and what isn’t, figure out how much money in your budget goes into savings each month and set that money aside consistently. Modern banking allows automated transfers from checking to savings accounts, so take full advantage of the various settings and automate your savings goals. That way, all you have to do is check in once in a while and see how you’re getting on, rather than worrying about forgetting to put money aside each month.
2) Network More
Whether you’re a managing director looking for clients to grow throughout the new year, you’re a remote worker looking to get out more or you simply want to push yourself out of your comfort zone – networking events will tick all those boxes. There are lots of different options out there for various events of all sizes. Start locally and check out upcoming networking events through your chamber of commerce, but keep in mind that there are always a lot of online networking opportunities through various webinars, virtual events and social media groups.
3) Improve Time Management
Or should we say, boost your Productivity Ninja skills?
One of the many reasons why people might give up on their goals for the new year is their lack of time. There are lots of different time-consuming tasks and projects, constantly fighting for our attention, so it’s not surprising that at some points we get overwhelmed. Instead of trying to plough through and ignoring all symptoms of your body and mind screaming “please, take a step back”, it’s time to practice Ninja preparedness and hit the nail on the head. Check out the various time management workshops and productivity seminars out there and give yourself and your team a productivity and wellbeing boost.
4) Make a Statement
Once you set your goals or resolutions, turn them into statements rather than questions. Instead of saying, “I want to grow my revenue 25 percent this year,” say, “I will grow my business revenue 25 percent this year.”
Hang the statements where you see them every day – for example, above your desk in the office. A written statement helps you envision your success and if you feel stuck and unsure where to go next, you can look back on your statement and remind yourself what’s important right now.
5) Create a New Habit
If you want to truly transform your business and your life, you should focus on forming habits rather than completing tasks. You’ve probably heard it takes 21 days to build a new habit, but the truth is it can take much longer, especially if old habits are ingrained or you get satisfaction from old habits. Think ‘starting to exercise’, for example: at first you will get greater satisfaction from relaxing on your sofa than going for a run after work.
Don’t expect miracles. One study showed adding a daily habit, such as exercising takes about 66 days to turn into a habit. Make consistent small changes, rather than making a big change and already losing your habit after 2 weeks.
6) Embrace Failure
We don’t want to be negative, but you won’t reach all the goals you set for the coming year; and that’s completely fine. Life intervenes, personal emergencies crop up, business processes fail and deadlines pass. Instead of giving up on your goals, be flexible enough to alter them and as you’re putting your action plan together, make sure there is some breathing space for those unexpected delays.
Changing goals or slowing goals down doesn’t equal failure but an opportunity toward flexibility and possibly even a more successful outcome.
Here’s to New Beginnings
Making a positive change of any type takes perseverance and planning. Lay out the steps needed to reach your goals both for your business and personal life and work through those steps. Even if you don’t quite achieve your goal, you’ll make progress on the new path you’ve set for yourself.
By Lexie Lu
Lexie Lu is a freelance designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest trends and always has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner
This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.