Nix the resolutions – focus on goals and plans for 2019

It’s mid January, which means many resolutions have already been forgotten or neglected. The push for a ‘new year, new you’ was all around us early this month encouraging fresh starts, new perspectives and affirmative action. The pressure to go into a new calendar year with determination to improve your life, career, health and happiness is frequently paired with anxiety and fear, the exact emotions we were hoping to leave behind in 2018. So now that the resolutions are further down the Instagram feed and no longer the focus of conversation let’s look at some practical, tangible ways to make 2019 a great year. No pressure to make it the best year, but there are steps you can take to make it memorable and positive.

“I find resolutions kind of annoying,” shares Drew Stewart, President of Operations here at Praxis Performance Group. “I don’t like the obligatory nature of having to change yourself January 1. I get it, new year, rebirth but if it’s important to decide upon or make changes then why are we waiting until January?”

“Goals are constantly evolving and moving. If you’re not assessing them or reimagining them throughout the year then you’re deemed to fail. Only setting them out at the beginning of the year is not a practice I adhere to,” he continues. “The first step when you’re setting goals or targets is to make them manageable, achievable and within your capacity. If you don’t see achievement you won’t make them again.”

One way to make goals achievable is to break them down into smaller milestones so you see slow but consistent progress. If a goal for 2019 is to run 10 kilometers by April, make the initial goal to run 2 kilometers by February. Seeing yourself achieve will inspire you to carry on.

Stewart also emphasizes the realism behind goals. “My goal to play for a major league baseball team is not realistic. It’s no longer an option for me. A goal to join a slow-pitch team makes a lot more sense and is something I can take steps to make happen and possibly even excel at!”

Using January as an opportunity to take stock of where you are in your career is not a bad idea. Regularly evaluating if you are where you’d like to be, if you are challenged and seeing progress is important. “Use the new year as an opportunity to sit in your feelings. You’ve likely just had a break with family and friends. Now that you’ve returned to work think long and hard about the next 12 months and what you want that to feel like,” advises Stewart.

“If you’re not happy where you are and you’re contemplating leaving your role, those are legitimate feelings that aren’t going to go away. But a big part of moving forward is identifying what it is you want and who can help you. Begin by looking at options, maybe you can move laterally within your organisation. It doesn’t need to be a huge change to start making progress and feeling better. Evaluate your skills and what you enjoy doing and align with companies or roles that offer that. Set the goal to obtain qualifications you need for the job you desire.”

Assigning a timeline and a plan to your goals will help map them out in ways that promote action. Share your plans with friends or a mentor to keep you accountable to your progress. Measuring goals is an essential part of success. Set check in times to review your plan, steps and progress. Always be willing to adjust plans if goals have changed.

“It’s about feeling in a lot of ways. Do you feel good about where you are and what progress you’re making?” asks Stewart. “But also look at the proof; certifications, qualifications, and benchmarks. Are your actions, achieving the goals? The numbers need to suggest things are moving in the right direction. If you’re not keeping track, how do you know if you’re achieving anything?”

The best way to implement positive change for 2019 is to get started. Reject the pressure of resolutions and embrace the power of goals and planning. There’s no time like the present, no matter what the date. Happy New Year!