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How I No Longer Fail My New Year’s Resolutions

How I No Longer Fail My New Year’s Resolutions

If you think, right now, of your New Year’s resolutions, what would you say about them? Would you jump up on your feet and enthusiastically start talking about your progress? Or would you barely remember them, thinking that this is yet another year you didn’t keep up with your promises?

If you don’t fire out all your goals straight away, or if you don’t feel really great about your progress, then I encourage you to read some tips on how to achieve your New Year’s resolutions. They really improved my progress, and I hope they will inspire you to make a new, fresh start.

Years ago, I was all excited when the New Year came, talking to my spouse about what I am going to accomplish that year. But a few months passed, and I had already forgotten more than half of my New Year’s resolutions, while the other half had not been even remotely achieved. One day, I stopped, thought about all my goal-setting strategy, and completely changed my approach. I became much more systematic, and the results showed very quickly: now I achieve more than 90% of all my New Year’s resolutions! So what have I changed?

1. Write down your resolutions

When I first wrote all my New Year’s resolutions down on paper, I felt a little bit foolish, thinking, “I know them all anyway, why bother writing them down?” It took me more than half a day! But it was worth doing. Why?

Writing your resolutions down on paper makes you far more committed and far less likely to forget them. Just think of what happens when you go shopping without your list. You forget to bring home half of the things you need.

Statistics show that people who write their goals down are 80% more likely to achieve them than the people who don’t.

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2. Put your emotions into your resolutions

There is a way to empower your goal setting: when writing goals down, put all of your emotions into them. Imagine the happiness when you pass the exam, imagine how you feel when you put your hands on the leather steering wheel of your new car, smell the fresh color of your newly renovated apartment.

I found out that if I can’t feel my goals when writing them down, then those goals are not really what I deeply wish to happen. So, whenever you write your goals, imagine how you will feel once you reach them.

3. Break it down

Have you ever tried to eat a whole apple in just one bite?

It works the same way with your goals. Break them down into small, managable pieces. See what you can achieve in the first 3 months, then what you can achieve in 6 months, 9 months, and finally in a year.

The feeling of succeeding at each step on your way to your New Year’s resolutions is so rewarding that you will enjoy the journey, not just the final victory.

4. Set up specific days

Last year I decided to gain some muscle mass. I knew I had to do my exercises regularly (apart from taking great care with my diet), not allowing myself to make any excuses. So I set up specific days when I would go to work out.

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I highly encourage you to set specific days or specific hours when you do the things which will bring you closer to your goals. You might set up half an hour every morning to read a motivational book, or go jogging 3 times per week.

Stick to your routine, no matter what. Once you get into a habit, the habit becomes part of you, and suddenly you start to do it naturally.

5. Measure your progress regularly

I do my body scan at least once a month to measure my progress in gaining muscle mass so that I can do some minor corrections in my exercise and nutrition routine, if necessary. Measure your progress on your way: how much weight you lost last week, what is the progress of your sales skills, how much money you saved this month, etc.

6. Show your New Year’s resolutions to your spouse/best friend

When you show your resolutions to your close friend, it automatically makes you feel much more committed. I show my New Year resolutions to my spouse and my children, and if you have children, you know that they can be really tough judges!

You can even take it a step further: write some of your goals on your Facebook profile!

7. Use the rule BE, DO, HAVE

We usually think of what we want to HAVE: more money, more freedom, more love, etc.

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When writing my goals I always ask myself what kind of a person I have to BE first, in order to DO things in a certain way which will lead me to HAVE a desired thing. Start thinking in the “BE, DO, HAVE” way, and your effectiveness will significantly improve.

8. Put just a little pressure on yourself

We all procrastinate, sometimes. How can we avoid it?

Pay some cash to your spouse/best friend/your children when you don’t keep up with your promises. If you don’t want to be broke, you better keep doing what is necessary to reach your New Year’s resolutions. I keep my “procrastination money” well in control.

9. Make a dream board

Go to Google, find out all the nice things you want to be, want to do, and want to have. Cut out a perfect body you want to have and stick the photo of your face on it, find a beautiful car you wish to have, whatever you wish. Place your dream board somewhere so that you can see it every day.

My dream board is hanging on the wall of my bedroom so it always reminds me where I want to be heading towards.

10. Reward yourself

Whenever I reach a significant step on my way to my New Year’s resolutions, I take my family to a nice restaurant. (My children always remind me if there is too much time between celebrations).

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Never forget to reward yourself when you reach a milestone on your way. It will make you proud of yourself and will increase your confidence.

11. Use visualisation every day

Every morning, I wake up half an hour earlier just to visualise all my New Year’s resolutions. I see them one after the other and I try to see all the details. I repeat the process when I go to bed.

Tip: When visualizing your goals, don’t make only static pictures, like a car and nothing else. See yourself moving in your pictures, see yourself driving that car. This technique was developed years ago by Russian athletic teams, and it is really powerful.

12. And finally: Find a mentor

If you have really high goals, you need some guidance. There is no better way to achieve your goals than to have a mentor who has already walked the way you are on.

This doesn’t mean that you need to have your mentor in person. I have a mentor for online marketing, but I have never spoken to him in person. I take advice from him via webinars and newsletters. You can even find your mentor in books or YouTube videos.

Put these things into practice, and I am sure that in a short period of time, you will notice significant progress on your way to accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions like I did. And when somebody asks you about your resolutions, you will jump up on your feet and excitedly talk about your great progress.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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