Now that 2009 has wound down, it's time to set your goals and make your plans to make 2010 your best career year ever. The fact is, the majority of us make New Year's Resolutions, but most of us will fall short in keeping them.
"Good resolutions are a pleasant crop to sow," a wise man has declared. "The seeds spring up so readily, and the blossoms open so soon with such a brave show. But when the time for flowers has passed, what as to the fruit?"
It's also been said, "He that resolves upon any great and good end has, by that very resolution, scaled the chief barrier to it. He will find such resolution...like the star to the wise men of old, ever guiding him nearer and nearer to perfection."
No doubt about it, we'll be better off in 2010 -- emotionally and materially -- if we set goals and achieve them.
If you haven't resolved to make specific changes in your life in the world of work and in your personal life during the new year you can expect to get the same results you experienced in 2009. Ask yourself: Will that be good enough to get you where you want to go?
Some people rely on such factors as hopes, wishes, or desires, but they are more apt to fail to achieve success than those who set out in writing specific plans and have a plan of action to advance their careers.
Despite this reality, fewer than half of those who make resolutions keep them for at least six months. Only about 19% stay true to their vows for two years.
People who think about making specific changes, but don't get around to actually codifying resolutions fail at a higher rate than others who make specific action plans to change their daily behavior, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Today is the day to start
There are 10 actions you can take to turn your resolutions into achievements by the end of 2010.
1. Take a hard look of what happened to your resolutions in 2009. Did you achieve your goals? Learn from your accomplishments and failures.
2. Make certain your goals for 2010 are realistic and attainable. They should be a real stretch, but reachable with your best efforts. It’s fine, for example, to resolve to win a big promotion, but it's not realistic to expect to make it all the way to the top in one leap.
3. Create a plan and work it. Quantify each goal. Make sure each resolution includes actions to be taken with deadlines, as well as practical ways to measure progress at least once each month.
4. Put unrelenting pressure on yourself to make progress toward your goals every day. Accept no excuses for failing to meet deadlines.
5. Treat your resolutions as binding contracts. Put them in writing. Post your resolutions in a prominent place so they will be seen every day. (The bathroom mirror is a good place.) Share your resolves with other persons you respect.
6. Take credit for progress. Enjoy your accomplishments.
7. Don't be discouraged by the sheer size of the challenge. Think of each resolution as a series of small, manageable tasks to be accomplished one by one.
8. Have a low tolerance for diversions. Permit them only if they are advancements toward achievements that are more important than the original goals. 9. Start now, this day. Don’t let the time slip by until it’s too late and another year has gone by -– lost forever -– without measurable progress toward your goals.
10. Remember. Nothing provides greater rewards in terms of material benefits and peace of mind than having a set of goals and feeling at the end of each day that you have made your best efforts, according to a plan, to reach them.
Heed these wise words
Take seriously this advice from Marie Edgeworth: “There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost, and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the sloth of indolence.”
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