It’s the day after New Year’s and every elliptical in your health club is taken. These fair-weather athletes fill up gyms every January in an effort to keep their New Year’s resolutions — to lose weight and get in shape. If you’re a regular, you’ve probably never seen them before and come February, you may never see them again.
The fact is that New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. Still, there’s something about the New Year that breeds hope and inspires the desire for positive transformation.
And according to the Washington Post’s health blogger, Lenny Bernstein, studies have found that despite the high failure rate, those who make resolutions are more likely to make positive changes than those who do not. If we choose resolutions wisely and carry them out strategically, we may find they are not so difficult to keep after all. We’ve compiled some tips to help you keep the professional resolutions that will guarantee your success in 2016.
“The first question to ask yourself is: if there were no pressure from anyone else, what would you, personally, like to change? This is important, because studies have indicated that people are more likely to succeed in changing their behavior when they are motivated by internal rather than external forces,” says Linda Geddes. writing for the Guardian. In other words, you are more likely to succeed if you are invested in making the change for yourself. Whether you’re planning to learn a new skill for your job to advance your career or simply want to catch up on your reading, own your resolution!
Being overly ambitious can be a set-up for failure. Instead, come up with a resolution that is actually doable. For example, if you’ve decided that you’d like to build your professional skills in a certain area, consider signing up for a workshop or online course, before committing yourself to a graduate degree program. Once you’ve determined that you have the interest, time and financial wherewithal to dive into your studies, it may be time to consider enrolling in a graduate program.
If resolutions are too vague, they can be overwhelming and hard to actualize. For example, if your resolution is to optimize your social media presence, you’ll need to set and meet particular objectives. Start by setting S.M.A.R.T goals. In other words, S.M.A.R.T goals are defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Defining each step is an effective process for setting and achieving your goals.
“A new study finds that even gentle lunchtime strolls can perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work,” says Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times. If you feel unproductive after lunch, but can’t find the motivation to walk by yourself, ask your coworkers to join you. You’ll strengthen relationships with colleagues, improve your health and make afternoons at the office more productive.
During the week, most professionals are forced to wage an ongoing battle to keep up with the deluge of emails they get. Peter Sims writing for the Harvard Business Review notes that weekends tend to be less intense, making them a perfect time to send your email. While today’s executives and high-level professionals do business 24/7, many use the weekends, when they are slightly less harried, to read email and hopefully, to give some thought to the people who are sending it.
There will be times when you falter. That doesn’t mean all is lost.
“Learn from the setback,” advises the Mental Health Foundation. Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself: “‘What situations made you slip?’ ‘Can you avoid them next time?’ Don't obsess over small setbacks — it won't help you achieve your goal. Start fresh the next day. Don't give up!”