At the start of each New Year, we often find ourselves making promises of self-improvement: We choose a few things that we want to change, label these as resolutions, choose an action or activity to get us started, and then … If we are really motivated – or lucky, we might make it to the 60-day mark before our commitment starts fading. And that’s when our resolutions often start to fall to the wayside. Sound familiar?
If you’re like me, you become disheartened and lose interest when you aren’t able to consistently keep your New Year’s resolutions. So you quickly abandon them in favour of more interesting activities like updating social media sites, reading a good book or a taking a walk around the neighbourhood.
Eventually, you simply stop making New Year’s resolutions. After all, why spend so much time THINKING about what we want to change, and then spend even more time CRITICIZING ourselves for not doing it? It’s just a lot of wasted time.
Change your mindset
The experience of starting my own business has reinforced the importance of focusing on the future, and not just having goals, but achieving goals. And I’ve realized that I don’t necessarily need to focus on “what went wrong” to create a successful present and future.
Consider that resolutions are aimed at fixing a problem that results from a past condition. Instead, how about setting goals for things you want to create, for yourself and those around you? Change your thoughts from “past, problem, probably fail” to “future oriented, inspired, successful”.
Include communication skills in your goals
Now that you are focused on setting goals and creating positive change in the coming year, it’s time to put a few of them on paper. (Go ahead, grab a pen and paper, or start tapping at your keyboard. There’s no time like the present!)
Then assess your list of goals: How many of them involve the need to communicate effectively with others, or require you to have new knowledge or learn a new skill? Perhaps you want to be considered for a promotion at work, you want to communicate more effectively in one or more relationships in your life, or you would like to become a mentor for disadvantaged children in your community.
All of these intentions require you to communicate effectively with others. So why not include enhancing your communication skills as one of your underlying goals this year?
Inspired action will ensure your success
Consider two aspects before you put your goals in writing and create an action plan.
First, ask yourself why you’ve chosen these specific goals. Do they excite you, inspire you, and support your vision for your work and your life? (If they don’t, it might be best to rethink them now, before you are too far down the path.)
Second, take the time to identify which communication skills you need to focus on to achieve your goals, which new knowledge you need to acquire, and which new skill you need to learn. Then make sure these are incorporated into your action plan.
Answering these questions will help keep you on track to achieving your goals, because you will have identified the motivation, tools and building blocks you need for success.
Start taking action today
Find sources of information and learning to support yourself as you work toward your goals, like my Up Your Impact newsletter or a Communication Skills Training Program. The internet is full of resources to find ideas, inspiration, teachers, mentors and motivation.
And don’t be discouraged if you make a misstep. The road to success is built on blood, sweat and tears, failures and course corrections. No one said it would be easy. But your results will be worth it!