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Start Your Ascent® – Do resolutions work for you?

You made it! Congrats on what I hope has been a fulfilling 2019. 

Now is the time of year when we talk a lot about goals, which for many people means making a New Year’s resolution. As a strategist and coach, I’ve seen that the only downside to those resolutions is that they often have adverse effects – they fall to the wayside after the first month or two, leaving us with a sense of failure and unsure how to proceed. I’m experiencing that stinging feeling of failure right now, because, for the first time in four years, I didn’t meet my workout goal for the year (to be clear, I didn’t even come close).

This failure reminded me that the best determinants of whether or not you will meet a goal lie in its structure and your approach. Here are a few tips to help you set and pursue your personal and professional goals for 2020:

  • Make It SMART. This is the piece of advice you’ve heard a million times, but it is so important. Your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. For instance, rather than, “I want to get to know more people in the firm,” try “I will go to lunch with 10 different people in the corporate department over the next 6 months.”
  • Make It Incremental. While the corporate department outreach goal above is SMART, it would be helpful to have smaller milestones to spur regular action, limit procrastination, and measure whether you’re on track. So, in that case, it would be better to define the goal as “Eat lunch with two people in the corporate department each month for the next six months.”
  • Be Responsive. Revisit and Reset to Realistic. The only constant in life is change. Things will happen, priorities will change. If you find your goal is no longer realistic, don’t hold onto it. For instance, I realized in June that I would not be able to reach my goal of working out 180 times this year, because I needed to devote more time to other priorities. Unfortunately, instead of resetting my goal then, I listened to my inner optimist. I held onto the goal even as I started to feel discouraged, knowing it was a losing battle. If I had reset to a more realistic and achievable goal this summer, I would have felt more motivated to accomplish what I was essentially after – being more active, more regularly.  
  • Give It Up. I know what you’re thinking, “you’re telling me to just quit?” No, we’re telling you to be open to the possibility that procrastination is a sign. Particularly at the corporate level, people sometimes don’t achieve their goals or finish projects because they aren’t the right person for that specific project or task. Facing that possibility and pivoting when it’s confirmed does wonders for teams.

Discover more resources to help you reach your goals in 2020 in this month’s newsletter.

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