Ready for a fresh start?

How to achieve more in 2018

Each January, millions of Americans make new year’s resolutions. This is the year they’re going to eat healthy and exercise more, spend less money, balance their personal and professional lives, take better care of themselves or make a career move.

Sounds great! We all want to change, improve and live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

I used to jump on the resolution setting band wagon, too. But eventually, I noticed a pattern. I often made similar resolutions year after year! Clearly, something about this process wasn’t working for me.

And I’m not alone.

A whopping 92% of people who make resolutions don’t keep them.

This can leave you feeling discouraged, frustrated and disappointed. And if you’re anything like me, your inner critic isn’t shy about pointing out all the ways you’ve messed up or fallen short. Ever been down this road, Jean?

If your ready to try a different approach, here are 5 strategies to help you achieve more in 2018.

  1. Take action – now.  According to research, we experience a phenomenon called  the “Fresh Start Effect” and feel more motivated to change at the kickoff of the new year (and other key dates). Called temporal landmarks, these transition times can highlight the contrast between where you are right now and where you’d like to be. This can inspire you to let go of what isn’t working and create new habits.
     
  2. Set realistic goals. One of the top reasons we don’t keep our resolutions or achieve our goals is that we make them too big. When you hit the inevitable setback, it’s easy to slip into all or nothing thinking. You’ve failed, you can’t do this, you might as well give up. The sweet spot is setting a goal that stretches you to  grow, but isn’t so aggressive that its sets you up to fail.
     
  3. Pace yourself. Another trap that can derail you is trying to do too much, too fast. We all love immediate results. But the reality is, when you over-extend yourself, your stress levels skyrocket, your efforts are fragmented and you don’t perform at your best. Break larger goals into smaller steps. You’ll score some quick wins that energize your progress, boost your confidence and create a track record of success.
     
  4. Rethink failure. Your attitude towards failure can be an anchor that keeps you stuck or a springboard that catapults you to greater heights.  Many women take failure personally and see it as evidence that they don’t have what it takes to achieve their goals. By viewing mistakes and setbacks as opportunities to learn instead, you gain valuable insights that can guide behavior shifts and strategy adjustments.
     
  5. Build positive habits. Goals help you accomplish specific objectives within a designated  timeframe, but they don’t always create change that sticks. Think: doubling down on your sales calls to nail a bonus, then reverting to your usual activity level. Shane Parrish says: “Habits are the processes operating in the background that power your life. If you want to make change that lasts, identify habits that are related to the goal you’d like to achieve.”

One of my goals for 2018 is to finish writing a book. The habit I’m developing is writing for an hour a  day. But I’m taking my own advice and starting small. My initial commitment is to write for 15 minutes 5 days a week and build my writing muscles from there.

With smart, strategic effort, you can accomplish your goals with more focus and less stress.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, less really is more.

Here’s to your success and happiness in 2018!

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