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How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

    We are approaching the time of year when many people have already blown their New Year resolutions. For example, according to the fitness industry, a ton of gym memberships are sold from December to February but attendance significantly drops from March and on when people who were hoping to get fit as a New Year resolution will give up.

    This happens year after year for not only health-related resolutions but for pretty well all types including saving money and quitting smoking. If this has already happened to you or if you are on the verge of giving up some of your New Year resolutions, here are some steps you can take to hopefully salvage them.

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    Reconsider the Reasons for Each Resolution

    First, reconsider the reasons behind each of your resolutions just to better understand why you came up with them in the first place. Are they still valid or important?

    Sometimes a New Year resolution might be just a sudden urge that is not really all that important to your life after some time passes. If this is the case, drop the resolution altogether. If the reasons are still solid, then keep the resolutions for the next step.

    Turn Each Resolution into a Defined Goal

    Now for the resolutions that are still important to you, turn them into defined goals. Losing weight or getting in shape is far too general. Instead, set such a resolution as a realistic goal you can measure. For example, lose ten pounds during each remaining month in 2012 is something you can measure. Make sure that your defined goals are realistic by seeing what other people have done who have been successful with similar goals.

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    Plan What You Have to Do Each Week

    Now that you have the end results in mind, plan out what you actually have to do each week in order to achieve those goals you set. This can be setting definite time periods during the week to work out at the gym as well as getting the training from qualified trainers if you need it.

    Physically enter the things you must do each week into your calendar or appointment book just like any other important appointments that you may have each week. This must be on something that you will be referring to each day whether it is a physical calendar or electronic one.

    Monitor Your Progress Over Time

    Most goals that were previously New Year resolutions take time and effort to achieve.  They cannot be done overnight. But accepting the fact that many of your goals will take continued work over the entire year doing a step at a time, you will then be able to monitor your progress over time.

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    If you stray a bit, take immediate action to make up for lost opportunities to work on your goals. Track your progress and adjust the targets as required if they were not originally set very realistically. Don’t forget that for many goals, active participation with other like-minded people rather than attempting everything on your own will help you stay on track.

    (Photo credit: Lifebuoy white against the blue sky and bright sun via Shutterstock)

    By turning your New Year resolutions into longer term, measurable goals over the entire course of the year with actual steps and time allocated for them, you will be able to salvage abandoned resolutions.

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    If you feel brave and honest enough to reveal any already blown resolutions, feel free to share them below and what you might do to salvage them.

    Good luck!

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    Published on July 17, 2018

    How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

    How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

    I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

    You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

    But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

    What is compartmentalization

    To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

    In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

    However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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    Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

    Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

    The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

    Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

    Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

    How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

    The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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    Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

    My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

    Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

    Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

    One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

    If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

    The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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    Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

    This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

    If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

    Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

    Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

    Reframe the problem as a question

    Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

    One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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    For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

    Choose one thing to focus on

    To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

    Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

    Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

    Comparmentalization saves you stress

    Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

    This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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