Happy 2018! It is that time of year where think about our goals for the new year. We purchase new gear and goodies to help us reach that illustrious goal. Yet despite our initial anticipation, 22% of new years’s resolutions fail after one week, 40% after one month, and 50% after three months. How can you buck the odds this year and make your resolution a reality? There are three actions you’ll need to take: resolve, go solve, and absolve.
Resolve. It’s easy to look at these statistics and think why bother. But the very act of making a resolution matters. Setting a goal means you’ve identified something you want to strive for. One key to a successful resolution is picking something important to you that are passionate about. You may feel pressure to climb the corporate ladder but if you love your current job, resolve to deepen your skills instead of getting promoted. The next step is to take that goal and make it a plan. Think about how you will deepen your skills by doing X by Y date. Setting specific, measurable goals makes your resolution more tangible and therefore more achievable.
Go Solve. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” This is a famous quote from Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple executive and entrepreneur. Once you have your idea and your plan, ask yourself, have I gotten this far before? What got in my way? If you resolved last year to deepen your skills by getting your MBA but fell short because you didn’t have the time or money to make it happen, is that the right goal for 2018? Unless your financial or time commitments have shifted the likely answer is no. So how else could you solve for that? Could you take one class online? Could you learn new skills at work? Find a mentor? The specific solution is less important than finding a solution you can implement. Creating realistic momentum helps get you out of the gates and gets that idea into motion.
Absolve. Merriam Webster’s definition of absolve is to “to free from guilt or blame.” This is a crucial part of resolutions. We know that half of resolutions fail in the first six months. Yet we fail to plan for failure. I love the blog The Tiny Buddha by Leo Babauta, and in this post Babauta challenges us to relook at our expectations for building a new habit. He wisely says, “What if the problem is our hope that we’ll never have to get disrupted, that things will always go perfectly? This hope is, of course, greatly misguided. Things don’t ever go smoothly, progress is never linear, and we’ll always get disrupted….what we need to do is get good at starting, then starting again.” Absolve yourself from the guilt that you didn’t sign up for that online class yet. Absolve yourself from blame that you haven’t found a mentor. It’s never too late to restart. Just go back to solving again. Take any step- no matter how small- to regain momentum and look forwards, not backwards.
So break out your new 2018 calendar or journal, and think about what goal excites you for this year. Write down some specific steps you can take to achieve that goal. Start doing – try anything, just start. Then prepare to restart. Approach 2018 with a resolve, go solve, absolve attitude and it will be a very happy new year.