I love New Year Resolutions! Just visualize those 365 (+1) days when you can achieve anything you set for yourself!
But how often does that actually happen? And how often do we end up on the bad side of statistics, among those 25% who fail to keep up after one week, 30% after one month, or 54% who fail after 6 months?
For me, the biggest issue was that I always stuffed my resolution lists like they were the Christmas turkey, and wrote something closer to a small wishful-thinking booklet, that never-ever included an implementation plan. And whenever I thought about them afterwards, I felt discouraged for not rising up to my imaginary self.
This got me wondering: why is it easy to do a thorough Project Planning in our professional life but fall short when it comes to our personal goals? And how efficient can we become if we ‘project manage’ our own activities, like we do our work projects?
Here’s how to infuse some very basic project management principles to set resolutions up for success
1. Be realistic & focus on very few resolutions
There is no way to start too many things at the same time. Our brain is unable to tackle many different priorities, so the fewer things we give it to digest, the bigger the chances of success.
My recommendation is to prioritize based on effort invested vs personal gain and pick 3 goals that are real gems, to focus on. And even start them in phases: give a couple of months to turn one into a habit, before moving to the next.
2. Be specific with planning
Reaching ambitious goals can feel distant and improbable as soon as we face ourselves with front of the long, ambiguous journey.
What I do is take a step back and think of the end result, and then work my way backwards. Thinking about what’s going to get me there and detailing the intermediate phases as much as I can is how I define the smaller actions and milestones.
3. Keep on track
Writing down the steps is a terrific planning exercise and also the best reminder ! There are plenty of apps out there, but I use my Google Calendar to help me stay on track.
Steady progress is way better than a burn out sprint. Doing something small towards the goal at least 3 times a week is the best way of enforcing the habit. And even if it’s just 5 minutes spent, that is still 5 minutes of awesomeness!
So this year, let’s break the habit and challenged ourselves to stop wasting New Year dreams and start making them a reality.