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10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True

10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True

New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing, aren’t they? Everyone gets together and promises that this year they’re going to do better. They’re going to achieve this, change that and ultimately be fulfilled by the end of the year. Then the booze and excitement of the night before wears off. Reality hits. That goal you just saw the New Year in with, that seemed feasible, now seems like an overwhelmingly large mountain to climb. Sure, you might try and stick to it. Maybe even keep it up for a couple of weeks. Then life has its way of taking over, and eventually you give up. “I’ll try again next year,” you comfort yourself with. Wouldn’t it be great if you could change that? If you could set a New Year’s resolution and actually stick to it? How incredible would it feel to set a goal, put in the work, and achieve it? You don’t have to wonder. You can do it.

This year can be your year of change. It can be the year that you actually achieve your resolutions. Want to know how? Of course you do, you wouldn’t be reading otherwise. So here it is, 10 tips you can use to set a goal and achieve it.

1. Tell People about Your Resolutions

By telling people about your resolutions, you are consciously committing to them. Just think about it: If you’ve told someone you’re going to do something, people are going to be expecting you to do it. You’ve not just made the commitment to you, you’ve made it to everyone you’ve told.

Another nice benefit of telling people about your resolutions is the support that comes with it. When the right people know about your resolution, they’ll stand behind you in achieving it. They’ll act as a support net, to spur you on even when you think you can’t do it. This may seem to contradict what some scientists including Derek Sivers say, but if you read this article from an inspiration expert, you will see that what Sivers and others meant actually correlates with this point.

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2. Clarify Your Resolutions

Ensure that your resolution can be actively tracked. Take, for example, a resolution of reading more. This is too vague. How will you know when you’ve achieved this goal? Will you be satisfied with reading a book once a month? A week? A day? The only way to know if you’ve achieved your resolution is by clarifying them so that they’re achievable.

If you want to read more, then you’re far better off setting a tangible and achievable goal — such as reading two books a month. You can track your progress, you’ll know if you’ve slacked on it, and you’ll know if you’ve achieved it! As thought-leader Michael Hyatt once explained, the clarification of goals makes them seem more feasible in your mind. You can find a very well-written post by him, on clarifying goals (in writing) here.

3. Make a Plan

Tying into point 2, about clarifying them. Once clarified, you can then create a plan to break down the clarified goal into smaller sub-goals that you can achieve daily. If you imagine your resolution as small, actionable steps, the achievement of the goal becomes a lot more feasible in your head.

Take the reading example. If you want to read 100 books a year, that could seem pretty overwhelming. If you break that down to reading one book every 4 days, it becomes a lot more realistic. This way you can also actively monitor your progress, and you’ll know whether or not you’re on target to meet it. You can find a great post explaining how setting goals helps, as well as how to adequately plan them, over at MindTools.

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4. Re-Frame Your Resolutions

Your resolution should not be putting you down. Don’t allow your resolution to become a passive way of saying, “I won’t be good enough until I achieve this.” This is a sure-fire way to become demotivated by the idea of achieving them, and can really get you down in the long-run. Take a new perspective on goals. Remind yourself that you’re good enough, each and every day and that your goals are just serving as a means to be better. You’re not doing it to be enough, you’re doing it to be MORE. That’s the kind of perspective that really begins to push your preconceived limits.

5.  Stop focusing on the end result

As Jeff Haden beautifully broke down in a post you can find here, when we commit to a goal, we really should commit to the process. The idea of the goals can often feel like we’re holding them at arms length. As though we should just achieve them and we’re done. When we commit to the process, the journey, of the goal, however, it’s a lot easier to make it an enjoyable experience.

The goal is in the distance, getting there is where our focus needs to be. You can’t constantly be looking at the map to see your end destination while driving, otherwise you’ll crash on the way there.

6. Know When to Take a Break

Burning out is a very real possibility when you’re not taking breaks. Find the time each day to let your mind relax. No goal or resolution should consume your mind from the moment of waking to the moment of sleep. Taking effective breaks has also been shown to increase our productivity.

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With that said, checking your social media accounts and watching TV are not breaks for the mind – they’re probably more stressful. Meditate, sing, take a walk, have a shower, do a small workout or something similar instead. If you want to know more about the advantages of taking breaks, but don’t want to sift through an academic paper, there’s a great post on FastCompany that broke it down. You can find it here.

7. Push Yourself

There’s a great quote by Bruce Lee, that says:

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

How this relates to reaching your resolutions is very simple: there will be plateaus in your progress towards achieving them. There will be points where you’re uncertain that you can really achieve what you’ve set out to do. Not just in your New Year’s resolutions but in life, in general. This is where you need to push yourself. You can’t accept “no” for an answer. Dig deep, find the will within to push past the plateau. Discouragement can become fuel when we allow it to be. Setbacks can become fuel when we allow them to be. You’ve simply got to keep pushing. You will achieve it. Tell yourself you’ll excel. You’ll be surprised how much more capable you really are.

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8. Reward yourself

Temptation bundling is a strangely, yet unsurprisingly, simple way to push yourself to achieve more. The premise is simple, tie what you want to achieve (but seem to be struggling to do so) with a reward, and get the reward each time you work towards the goal.

A good example, as demonstrated in this somewhat contradictory post, is your workout. If you really enjoy listening to audiobooks, but don’t like working out, and your resolution is to workout more frequently – limit your audiobook listening time to the gym. If you like your audiobooks enough, it’ll spur you on to actually go workout.

9. Don’t give in to the critic

You’re going to have doubters. They’re a part of life. So why not use them to motivate and encourage you? Now okay, it’s probably not best to be striving to achieve something out of spite, but as Collis Ta’eed outlines in his post about achieving more, people will try to bind you to their own self-set limitations. Take their criticism, and tell yourself that you’re not bound by what they’re bound to. Go out, make it happen, achieve it. Then, when all is said and done, go back to the critic and respectfully tell them of your achievement, and thank them for their help.

Not only will you have achieved something, but you have the potential to help another being evaluate why they’ve set such limits for themselves. It’s a win-win. (Plus you can be a little smug, but only a little.)

10. Celebrate Your Achievements

Forget what others think about it, if you’re happy about the progress you’re making, you have every right to celebrate it and shout it from the rooftops. It’ll only empower you to continue pursuing that goal. So there you have it, 10 tips for actually sticking to and achieving your New Year’s resolutions. If you liked this post, go ahead and share it or leave a comment.

Featured photo credit: resolutions via static.communitytable.com

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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