Each year, the transition from one year to the next provokes reflection, optimism, and goal-setting. Around this time, we not only consider resolutions we failed to meet, we anticipate the year ahead and resolve to meet new goals. No matter what, the new year is a new beginning – a time to start fresh. Some of us make clear and specific resolutions we persistently pursue throughout the year. However, some of us may fall short of reaching our goals due to several common pitfalls. Avoiding these pitfalls can be a resolution unto itself!
All talk no action – those of us who take this approach are serious about resolution-setting. We make resolutions with much fanfare and communicate them to others. The problem arises when we don’t seem to do anything about our resolutions. New goals seem quickly forgotten and stay unaddressed. To avoid this pitfall: identify next steps and lay out a simple plan.
Unsustained focus – this approach involves a lot of initial activity and focus soon after resolutions are made. The new goals seem to be all-consuming and top-of-mind. But after the initial surge of activity, we get distracted and the original goals fall by the wayside. To avoid this pitfall: make a series of mini-goals (who, what, and by when) and keep them on your calendar.
Replace unmet goals– because it does not feel good to fall short of goals, we may mistakenly replace legitimate, unmet goals with new, fresh ones. Of course, goals do sometimes change and new goals rise to importance. But when existing goals are still important, focusing only on new ones leaves prior goals unaddressed. To avoid this pitfall: check your resolutions on the first of each month to keep unmet goals top-of-mind.
Neglect to make resolutions or goals – perhaps because we don’t like to feel like we’ve failed, sometimes we stop making resolutions or new goals at all. As Wayne Gretzky, hockey great said, “We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take.” The limitations of this approach are clear. To avoid this pitfall: face down your fear of failure and resolve to set goals that matter to you!
Does this approach to New Year’s resolutions and other goals, carry over to goal-setting on the job? What pitfalls might we avoid as we set and pursue goals in this new year?
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and successful 2018!