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It’s Time for New Year Resolutions. Buy Time to Reorganise yourself in 2016!

December 2, 2015

No matter what the New Year’s resolution – weight loss, getting exercise, searching for a better career, or even finding new love — the beginning of January is simply too soon to start a program for personal life change, according to Strategic Planning Consultant Barbara Bacigalupi.

“If you really want to increase your chances of reaching your goal for the new year, wait until Chinese New Year (which this year begins on January 31) to launch your resolution,” states Bacigalupi who has transformed the advice she gives to organizations into seven specific actions for individuals to accomplish during January in order to ensure personal goal achievement in all the months that follow.

Bacigalupi, who has consulted with hundreds of professional service businesses across the US, was prompted to make this recommendation based on numerous reports that set typical failure rates for New Year’s Resolutions at 70% to 99%.

“The post-holiday season is a period of fatigue and catch-up, and so an ill-advised time to introduce meaningful change. Plunging headlong with an ill-conceived new resolution each and every New Year only serves to ingrain a mentality of failure into one’s overall approach to life. We are literally hard-wiring our brains to believe that we are incapable of change,” continues Bacigalupi.

“But every human being has to be a master of change in order successfully navigate the fluctuations of life, and the month of January would be better spend in asking and answering the question, ‘Who do I really want to become?’

“All change needs to be well planned, distributed over a reasonable time frame and put into practice when it has every possible chance of success. By February, which typically coincides with Chinese New Year, we might be ready to succeed, and in so doing, prime ourselves for future successes as an ongoing way of life,” concludes Bacigalupi.

For improved goal achievement, delay New Year’s resolutions to a less frantic time of year and also using the month of January to engage in goal preparation helps. Follow the steps highlighted below carefully to achieve your life’s goals next year, even if this comes at a cost of calling in your New Year on the day Chinese celebrate.

1) Set a reasonable length of time for achieving the goal. Unless you are already skilled as a change-maker, it is better to tackle a goal for one month’s duration. If the goal is too big, then break it into bit sized pieces that can be distributed over a few months time. Hold yourself accountable to just the first month’s goal, until it is achieved, then move on to the next.

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2) Establish a tangible reward for success. If this goal is really important to you, it’s a good idea to establish a specific and meaningful reward that you will give to yourself when you achieve the goal. This needs to be something that you really want or the incentive won’t work.

3) Select a specific strategy. This is the all important HOW to go from Point A to Point B that involves selecting a “way” or program for change. This is not just any method; it’s the one that is most likely to work for YOU, taking into account your personal situation, needs and interests. There are so many diets or fitness or job search programs out there, time must be spent in researching your best option.

4) Allocate the capital resources necessary. Change takes money, but this allocation is often neglected. No matter whether it involves shopping for healthier life, but very different foods than you are used to buying, or paying membership or program fees. An honest budget for change can go a long way towards goal achievement.

5) Make time for change. Most people are already too BUSY and have little time to accommodate additional activities, so something has got to give. The usual “To Do List” has to be shortened to make room for change. Every task consumes some our vital, but limited, reservoir of personal energy.

The energy required to adopt a new behaviour can’t be underestimated and is probably the single most important reason for goal failure. If this energy is not allocated up-front, the pull of other demands will likely overwhelm any attempt at meaningful change.

5) Consider the reactions of the people around you. We all want to believe that the people around us want us to be our best, but in practice, family, friends and co-workers can pose serious obstacles to change. After all, they may be quite happy with you the way they are. For example, a co-worker may hinge a part of their daily happiness on enjoying a pastry over the morning break with you, and this person just might feel uncomfortable when you say “no” to the pastry and instead munch on a stick of string cheese.

Your change can prove threatening to others, and you must anticipate and plan for how you can reinforce each person in your inner circle that you will still be the same person for them. Turn potential opposition into support, by letting them know how important they are to you, even if you may be changing some of your behaviours.

6) Enlisting the help of a cheerleader. Identify one person in your network to talk with regularly – at least once a week – about how you’re doing, including all the day- to- day pitfalls of change. There will always be set-backs, but with a supporter you can still see where you are being effective and use that as your motivation for moving forward.

Ask them in advance of starting your change program for support, and in turn, offer your help to assist this person in the achievement of their resolution. Most people simply can’t afford a life coach or psychologist to see them through the process. But while it is nice to have an expert, you really don’t need one, as change-making is a fundamental human skill that we all are capable of developing.

Only when these essential steps are complete can a New Year’s resolution plan can be implemented with reasonable likelihood of success. Planning not only assures that the necessary energy and resources have been set in place, but it creates real and lasting commitment to the goal.

Also read: If you’ve been Comparing Your Career Growth with others, it’s Time You STOP!

Image credit: happynewyears.in

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