One year I swear I am going to go to the doctor and have a glucose and triglyceride test done the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and again on Dec. 26th. The amount of sugar and unhealthy food consumed in that month must surely send my numbers off the charts. What does this have to do with one’s career management? It is Resolution Time!
Every year many of us set resolutions. This is the year we lose those 20 pounds. On January 1st you promise to quit smoking. A new job in 2013. These are all common resolutions that we set on January 1st only to find on December 31st that we put on 5 pounds, still smoke like a fiend, and am in the same role as before. This year is going to be different!
Reasonable Resolutions: Those who say they are going to run a marathon in 2013, but have difficulty running to the end of their block, are setting themselves up for failure. Is your goal attainable in the timeframe you have given yourself? While goals should stretch and challenge oneself, don’t set yourself up for failure by setting an unrealistically high bar.
Accountability: Probably the number one reason we fail in our resolutions is the lack of accountability we put on ourselves. It is too easy to put off running until tomorrow, until the weather warms up, until the new pair of sneakers come in, until…next year.
To break this cycle of excuses and procrastination, find ways to keep yourself accountable to your goals. For example, this past summer a friend and I competed in a few triathlons. I purposely signed up for the triathlons 4 months in advance because I knew that I needed that much time to properly train and if I paid money for the event, my frugal self would honor the commitment (I refuse to pay for something and then not use the item). I signed up with a friend because I knew he would bug me everyday by asking about my training. With him constantly in my ear about training, I knew I could not procrastinate.
I found my accountability buttons – money and a colleague. If I pay for something, I am more likely to use/take advantage of the item because I have made an investment. Having a friend to check in on my progress also forces me to stay on target as I know the individual will bug me if I don’t keep up my end of the bargain.
Timelines: So you are going to lose twenty pounds by Dec. 31, 2013 – great idea. Where do you want to be in your progress on April 1st, July 1st, and Oct. 1st? Set timelines and smaller goals that feed into larger ones so that you can keep on track. Again, it is too easy to procrastinate with many of our goals because we overestimate how much we can get done in a short period of time. Set check-in points throughout the year to ensure you stay on track.
Elbert Hubbard is credited with saying that a goal without a plan is just a dream. Don’t let this describe your 2013 resolutions. So go ahead and set those resolutions for 2013. Just remember to dream big goals and plan accordingly.