I’m tired of reading career-related blogs about New Year resolutions. They tend to be accompanied by stock pictures of fist-pumping, high-fiving, fresh-faced young people in power suits who are clearly passionate about working in their glassy corner office on the 130th floor in downtown Manhattan. More realistic would be a picture of someone sunburnt and staring blankly at their screen, trying to remember what their job entails.
As a “flexi-planner”, I prefer to agree with myself on some goals for the year but I call them “cool things I’d like to see” or “happenstance I’d like to put myself in the way of” so I don’t intimidate myself. I may get towards these “cool things” in a number of ways. I could:
- Bring about incremental change by changing habits, such as stop buying myself cupcakes for morning tea or looking at my phone. I need to be quietly determined but make a minimum amount of fuss – I don’t want Lizard Brain noticing it is going to be deprived of sugar or social media.
- Make spontaneous decisions that will contribute to reaching goals that are not called goals, such as join a choir so I can get back into singing or buy a laptop to reactivate my blog. This time it’s Over-Analytical Brain that needs to be kept out of the way.
- Increase my opportunities for change and growth by simply getting out more, pushing Inner Awkward Turtle to one side and meeting people in the area I want to learn more about. Meetup is a terrific way to do this. I have already discovered that other people at the professional networking groups I have been to can be shy too.
- Do one really brave thing that I don’t really want to do but know will be awesome once I start. I will ignore the pleas from Over-Anxious Me and learn how to code on a micro-credentialling platform such as Udacity.
About 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Maybe this is because we apply the word should to our resolutions. Think about the changes you want to see – what will they look like in reality? It’s so easy to start the year with a burst of vim and vigour, but the key is how to make these cool things or happenstance events a regular thing. Be realistic, forgive yourself if things don’t happen, stop, evaluate and maybe do things differently. You may start in June and that will be fine too. The key thing is to know “why” you are making the change.