January is the time for breaking New Year’s resolutions.
As people return to work after the Christmas break, they tend to ask themselves those perennial questions ‘where am I going, what am I doing and how will I know when I get there?’ Taking time to get off the treadmill, eat copious amounts of food, drink too much wine and have the obligatory family argument can be both invigorating and unsettling. See our tips here for building resilience.
I like coming back to work in January. Strange but true. I like the quiet time to plan and reflect, when there are only a few people in the office; and before the year becomes hectic and it’s hard to find the time to think.
It’s a time when you realise that last year’s resolution to lose weight, be more financially secure, find love, quit smoking; are exactly the same as this year’s resolutions. In fact, according to research on the subject, just 20% of people are successful in keeping their New Year’s resolutions. It’s no secret that airlines are also aware of the ‘return to work blues’ and exploit this time with advertising campaigns to tempt you into the next holiday.
So, how do you ensure you turn your resolutions into reality? Just like a business has a strategic plan, you need your own personal vision of where you want to be. The secret to ensuring success in achieving your goals is linking them to the vision of where you want to be. Here are 6 tips to develop your Personal Strategic Plan.
- Visualise: take some quiet time to visualise yourself in 10 years time. Where are you? What are you doing? Next, imagine that you are giving a speech. Where are you? What does the room or space look like? Who is in the audience? Take time to think about all of the people who are there. What are you saying? Imagine the speech and the words you will be saying to those people.
- Commit to paper: Now take a piece of paper and in the top right-hand corner, draw that image. You don’t have to be an artist, you can depict it with words too.
- Where are you now?: In the bottom left-hand corner, draw or depict where you are now; your current situation in life, be it work or home life.
- Join the dots: you guessed it. Draw a line between the two and then work out what it will take to get you there. Write down the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be. You’ll need to determine your priorities as they may compete with each other. It’s important to be clear and to be flexible given that things may change along the way. The vision should always be clear and guide you, the path can be winding and convoluted.
- Get specific: write down a set of achievable goals for the year. Make them SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Remember: ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. Do you need to learn new skills or attend a training course to help you achieve your goals?
- Review: set up review times in your calendar to check in on yourself and help you keep on track. Tell someone else about your vision and gain their support too. Remember we’re all human. If you err from your plan, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track.
As for the New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to ditch them. It’s a bit like the old cliches about the things you’ll never say: ‘I wish I spent more time in the office’, ‘I should have gone to the gym’, ‘I’m so happy I ate that whole box of chocolates’. We recommend you go straight for the caramel.