As everyone who believes in the modern calendar already knows, it’s nearly 2014. Thus we are hitting that critical point in which everyone is nostalgically reflecting on the past year; some with great fondness and others with a sense of relief that it’s almost over. It’s also the time of year when people are scrambling to make plans on how they ought to enter the new year in style. For some that means popping champagne at a swanky club… for others it means ordering Chinese food and watching the ball drop in their pajamas.
However you choose to perceive the impending new year, there is a good chance you may be thinking about setting a New Year’s resolution– or just some basic goals for yourself or for your organization. The whole resolution thing is an endeavor I take on each year and pretty much always fail at upkeeping. So that you might benefit from my mistakes, here are five things to keep in mind when setting a resolution (to ensure it doesn’t suck).
1. Choose a Goal You Care About
This may sound silly, but with all the media about losing weight or achieving higher salaries, it’s all too easy to focus on a goal that frankly, you don’t give a damn about. The same might go for your organization. Maybe everyone has been telling you that you should focus on marketing through Pinterest more. But if you really don’t care about Pinterest than it’s doubtful you’re going to put a lot of effort into that goal after a week or two. Spend some time thinking about what matters most to you on a personal level.
2. Don’t Rely on Others
Don’t set a goal that requires other people to be on board. If you are setting a goal for your nonprofit, choose something that you can personally take the lead on throughout 2014. It’s sort of the same thing as relying on a gym buddy when working out… it’s all to easy to say “well, he didn’t go today so I won’t go either”.
3. Set Measurable Goals
This is where I really mess up every year. I create a goal like “be healthier” or “find more nonprofit clients to work with” but it’s too general. What does “healthy” mean for me? How many new clients should I be seeking, one or 1,000? Once I define the goal I create a better sense of accountability. For example, “I will run a half marathon by November 2014” or “I will attend one nonprofit networking event a month to seek new clients to work with”. The more specific you can get, the better.
4. Create a Game Plan
As with any sort of planning, a resolution is ineffectual if you don’t have a “game plan” for the long term. Say your resolution is that you will attend more networking events. How will you find these events? How will you record your attendance of these events?
A really great idea I heard recently is to create some sort of resolution journal where you record your progress in achieving your resolution. With modern technology this journal might not be a diary you tuck under your pillow; maybe you can use your organization’s blog to report your observations from attending these networking events. Facebook’s timeline is another cool way to track your progress and let others know about it.
5. Let the World Know
Let as many people know about your goal as possible. If it’s a personal goal, tell friends, family, coworkers and just about anybody else who might force you to feel compelled to keep on track. If it’s a professional goal, announce it to everyone in your organization and possibly your fans/followers/clients as well. The more people who know about your goals, the more you’ll feel pressured to accomplish them.