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Five Reasons to Cheer When You Fail to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Five Reasons to Cheer When You Fail to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

You began the year with high hopes, but now your New Year’s resolutions are just memories. You set out to make lots of changes to your life, but you’ve already put some at least some of those resolutions aside. You’ve failed, or so it seems.

As you analyse your “failure”, consider the following before you criticise yourself too much—you might have more to congratulate yourself about than you think.

New Year's Resolution

    1.  It Was the Wrong Resolution

    At the end of last year, you were likely thinking about all sorts of things you wanted to do differently, but you made your list when you were on holiday, at a time when you were feeling relaxed. The resolutions you came up with seemed fine a couple of weeks ago, but now that you’re back into your normal routine, you’re not so sure.

    In fact, you can’t really remember why you thought that list was filled with good resolutions in the first place. At least some of them don’t fit in with what you’re doing either at work or in your life outside work. Some of them are definitely the wrong resolutions. Now that you look closely at them, you can see that you’re right to put some of them to one side and think again.

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    2.  It Was Somebody Else’s New Year’s Resolution

    It’s something that you do at the end of the year: you get together with friends and you all commit to reform some of your bad habits. You discuss what you are going to differently, what you intend to stop doing and which activities you’re going to start doing, or commit to do better.  Perhaps on New Year’s Eve you nodded as someone in the group said:

    “Let’s all agree to ……”

    That’s where your problems started—you agreed to something that wasn’t necessarily on your personal list of priorities. Maybe it was something you hadn’t even considered focusing on this year, but it didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time, and you don’t like to dampen other people’s enthusiasm. However, when you come to think about it, this isn’t a New Year’s resolution you want to work on, so you’ve abandoned it.

    3.  You Felt Obligated to Make It

    When you think about this particular resolution, you say things like:

    “I ought to work on ….”

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    “I really should make a commitment to …”

    Words like “ought” and “should” reveal a lot about you. You know it’s a good idea to take off those extra pounds you put on last year; you know that adopting a more frugal lifestyle would be good for the planet and good for your bank balance, but somehow you know you’re not going to take action.

    Making a New Year’s resolution to force yourself to do something that you’re not ready to do doesn’t work, because you’re not committed to take action.  You don’t actually want to make the changes that fulfilling your resolution would demand of you.

    You can try to goad yourself into making those changes, but it tends not to work. After a while, you stop prodding yourself, or you get fed up with feeling guilty all the time, and you give up on the project.

    Making a New Year’s resolution to do something you really don’t want to do is a bad idea, so It’s not surprising that you’ve abandoned this one.

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    4. You Made Too Many Resolutions

    Quite a few people make long lists of New Year’s resolutions, and the same resolutions tend to crop up every year. You’re going to learn to touch-type;  you’re going to learn to ride a bike; you’re going to exercise twice a week. You end up with so many resolutions, and you would need to make so many changes to your life in order to achieve them, that you really can’t cope with everything on your list.

    When you make New Year’s resolutions remember the SMART formula in full: most people are good at making specific, measurable and time-bound commitments and thus addressing part of the formula. Some even ask if a task can be done, and if the task achievable. It’s the realistic element that so often gets overlooked.

    If you have too much to do, if you have reached the limits of what you can cope with, don’t add anything else to your list of tasks to work on.  It’s not realistic to take on something else.  You just can’t do any more, even if you would like to.

    Taking another look at your New Year’s resolutions and working on the ones you have the personal capacity to fulfill makes a lot of sense—if some of your resolutions have to be put to one side, it’s not a disaster.  It’s good planning.

    5. It’s the Wrong Time to Work on This One

    You have a whole year to work on your New Year’s resolutions and it’s important to remember that some tasks are easier to complete at particular times of the year—there’s no reason to assume that you should start work on all your New Year’s resolutions in January.

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    If you’re very busy at work in the first quarter of the year, it might make sense to work on revising your approach to how you manage your schedule in the second quarter. If you’re determined to become fitter, then the time of year when the weather is at its best is the time when you’ll find it easier to spend more time outdoors taking more exercise.

    When you make New Year’s resolutions, be prepared to pace yourself through the year as you work to complete them.

    Don’t assume you’ve failed to fulfill your resolutions just because you’re not working on them in January.

    Planning For the Future

    Resolutions are great because they bring focus to what you do, and they help you to motivate yourself to succeed at what’s important to you, but your grit and determination to achieve deserve to be focused on the right things. This means you need to be very careful about the resolutions you make when each new year comes.

    Maybe now is the time to cheer that you haven’t keep some of your current New Year’s resolutions. Next year learn from this year’s “failures” and make sure your future resolutions are the right ones.

    Choosing the right battles to fight is always the best way of increasing your chances of victory. Good Luck with 2014, when it arrives.

    Featured photo credit:  Sky train in Bangkok via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on March 14, 2019

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

    How it helps you:

    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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    How it helps you:

    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

    How it helps you:

    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

    How it helps you:

    One word: hierarchy.

    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

    How it helps you:

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    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

    6. What do you like about working here?

    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

    How it helps you:

    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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    How it helps you:

    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

    Making Your Interview Work for You

    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

    More Resources About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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