Sunday, 1 January 2012

'Project 2012' - 4 steps to stick to those resolutions

It seems that I start every year with impressive intentions, plenty of positivity and a long list of resolutions, guaranteed to lead to precisely the life I dream of if I can just stick to them.  Somehow, by the time I get to  ‘Blue Monday' they’re all but forgotten...

In the hope that I can fare better in 2012, I booked onto a webinar entitled 'Start 2012 with a bang' presented by the very inspiring Jo Barnes of The Social Networking Academy (SNA). Jo gave us plenty of great ideas about goal setting, measuring results, motivation and so much more, and I came away feeling fired up and ready to think how I might apply them to myself.

This year, I’ve decided to apply some ideas I've adapted from project management tools and techniques to my resolutions – both for my business and personal life. This is something of a new approach for me, at least in the personal context - so if anyone else has applied it in a similar way I'd really love to know what you think and how it worked for you. Here are the 4 steps I'm taking this year:
  1. Understand what needs to change over the next year  This is about reviewing the  successes and failures of last year, and analysing the lessons I've learned from each of those experiences. This will ensure that I can be clear about where I am starting from, and can then identify "what would have to happen" for the year to be a success, a key element identified by Brian Tracy in his 'New Year, New You' video.
  2. Plan – for 'Project 2012' I intend to set 3 main high-level objectives (resolutions), which I will break down into tasks/actions with measurable targets and outcomes and review dates. For example, one of my objectives/resolutions is to improve the profitability of my business; so the tasks will include revisiting my business plan and financial forecasts, identifying targets for income, client numbers etc, specifying the actions needed to make progress, clarifying the outcomes required and setting review points in my diary.  Although 3 resolutions is probably less than I would normally make, I'm pretty sure that the actions generated by them will be enough to aim for. Not only that, but each of them have the potential to make a significant positive difference to my life if I can achieve some measure of success in them. 
  3. DO IT!!!  As Jo Barnes mentioned in the SNA webinar a successful business requires "consistent, focused action" and this applies to personal resolutions as well. This is the 'biggie' for me, as I'm sure it is for most people. Once the excitement of the New Year has passed it's back to 'business as usual', and therein lies the problem - I end up doing what I always did, and getting the same results as I always got! Any change takes time to embed, and it's so easy to get discouraged when early targets or timescales slip. So for me the key will be to pace things to give myself a reasonable chance of achieving them - and to try to catch myself doing things right instead of only registering the slip-ups!
  4. Monitor and review Rather than looking at my resolutions at the end of 2012 and berating myself for a lack of success, I intend to set aside a regular block of time to look at them, just as I would any formal project. This will give me the chance to record my achievements, think about anything that's not working and make adjustments where necessary - after all, the world can change a lot in a year, so it's likely my objectives will too.  As in all good projects, it's going to be important for me to measure progress from where I actually start, not where I think I should be starting - that way, I'm more likely to spot the improvements I'm actually making, which will be a great motivator.
So, that's my plan! If this works as well in my personal life as project planning has worked professionally, I have more 'mini-projects' in mind (I've already compiled my ‘lessons learned’ to use in Project Xmas 2012 …!) But what do you think? What have you found works best for you?

Come and join me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

No comments:

Post a Comment