The new year has arrived, with all the anticipation and excitement that comes with a new beginning! Each new year provides you with another opportunity learn new skills, give back to your community, and accomplish other professional goals you might set for the year.
Establishing your goals may be the easy part. Accomplishing them requires an entirely different mindset. Oftentimes, as the year takes off, even with your best intentions, the goals you’ve set tend to lose their sense of importance or get put on the back burner while you focus on the “higher priority” items. So, how can you avoid this lull in momentum? It helps to have a strategy for success—a detailed, specific plan for reaching the desired result.
Below are a few tips to help you along the way.
- Create a written list of your goals. As a reminder of where you’re headed, keep the list close by throughout the year—on a whiteboard in your office, on your desktop, or taped to your bathroom mirror. Keeping it front and center will help you keep up the momentum during those busy times.
- Visualize the end results. For instance, if one of your goals is to attend an industry-related training conference, picture it in your mind. Imagine yourself at the training, learning a new skill or technology that you can then take back to your organization and use it to better serve your clients.
- Focus your time and energy on positivity. The biggest threats to maintaining momentum are “energy drainers.” These are negative things that tend to zap your mental and physical strength. They might include negative people, no-win situations, or other things that take your focus away from your goals. Avoid these energy drainers, and instead, surround yourself as much as possible with “energizers”—positive, supportive people and situations that will help advance your quest. Examples might include an orderly workspace, team-building activities, quiet music, or lunch with friends and co-workers.
- Budget for your goals. Some goals, such as attending conferences or implementing a new program or project, require funds to make them happen. Proper budgeting is critical so that these goals are attainable for you, and don’t become energy drainers. This is an easy way to lose your momentum!
- Review and adjust on a regular basis. Let’s face it. Things happen. Work may get a little hectic or you may miss a deadline. When the unexpected happens, simply review your goals, and adjust accordingly. Do what it takes to keep yourself on track without getting discouraged and giving up. Adjusting your goals isn’t a failure; it’s called being flexible, and it’s a sign of determination and commitment, both of which are reasons to celebrate! And, if you do happen to let go of a goal, use it as a learning experience. Find the takeaway and use it to your advantage the next time around.
These tips can help put you on the right path to stay focused and keep your momentum going. At the end of the year, you’ll look back with a real sense of pride at what you accomplished, and you’ll be ready to create a new set of goals for the next year!