New Year’s resolutions can be positive or negative, and if you’re in the increasingly blue haze of people who have made resolutions they know they are not going to keep, or if you’re ruing the opportunity to make any at all – don’t despair, it’s not too late to get things back on track.
Symbolism is important to us all, from a bunch of roses with a message beyond flowers to a time like New Year’s Day that’s seen as an opportunity to refresh, reset and restart. The occasion may be symbolic, but the effects can be real and long-lasting.
“It’s not too late to jump on the New Year’s Resolution (NYR) bandwagon,” said Melinda Fell, founder of boutique C-level placement and career coaching firm Melinda Fell Consulting.
“Any time is a good time to review where you are with your work and a career and recalibrate your work/life settings,” Melinda explained, “but the New Year seems to be particularly effective because people combine some time off work with time on with their families and friends – it’s a good chance to get things into perspective.”
“And no, it doesn’t have to be done on the day, it seems that any time in the New Year will do.”
Having met with more than 12,000 executives, mainly across the financial services industry, Melinda’s opinions are based on both personal and anecdotal experience.
So here, in a nutshell, are Melinda’s 5-steps to coping with the post New Year’s resolutions realisation.
You know the realisation, that moment where you look back at what you’ve sorta, kinda, promised yourself and look forward to the year ahead, remember all the past resolutions and think, “Oh well, I guess it’s not really going to happen…”
It’s not too late to rethink, restructure and get some achievable, career and life-rewarding goals in place for 2017, and here are 5 steps to get you started. (You can repeat this process for different goals.)
Step One – Where do you want to be at the end of 2017?
It’s realistic, it may be a work goal, or a life goal, it may not be the end of your journey, but at least it’s a step along the way. Write it down at the right-hand edge of a piece of A4 paper.
Step Two – how can you get there?
Now write down all the possible strategies/actions you think you could take to get there, put these to the left of your goal on the paper. Strategies can include everything from doing more study, to networking harder, spending more time with the family or carving out more you-time. You know what it might take. Write down everything, and spread them out on the right-hand side of the page, even though you probably won’t use them all.
Step Three – where can you start?
Look at the list you have on the page. Where are the obvious entry points? The things you can most easily do to get the ball rolling. OK, highlight or underline them and move them to the left.
Step Four – navigate the route ahead
Starting with your highlighted or underlined entry points, imagine your path ahead though all the strategies and actions you’ve written down. Be realistic, think about completing the first one and look at the options ahead of you. Use different coloured pens to define the different paths that you think are possible.
Step Five – define the beginning
Now we’re in real time. You could write down some strengths and weaknesses and compare them to your entry points. Or you could use a bit of intuition and gut-feel. But now’s the time to lock in to your starting point and chose a timeline. Be realistic.
OK, this is where most of us come a cropper. We expect too much, or too little of ourselves. We can generally make a plan, but keeping to it is the real challenge, and that’s where expert help can be the deal-maker or breaker.
“That’s why I’ve expanded from C-level placement to executive coaching,” said Melinda, “I saw so many competent people who were not realising their full potential – and happiness – in either their work or home lives, or both.”
“I did a lot of research and study, both in Australia and offshore and discovered there are answers and people are actually using them to achieve great results.”