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Posts Tagged ‘new year’

card-1081735_640Starting a new year provides the opportunity to start afresh and open up new possibilities for yourself. One of the fundamental factors we generally forget to take into consideration, though, is that a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a new you is going to appear magically. You still take your usual self into it.

Alas, if we really want to make something of it, and benefit from the opportunity for a new beginning, or to do things in new ways, or even be a new you, then making resolutions is a good start.

If you are genuinely interested in achieving all those things you’ve stated as your resolutions; the standard lose weight, eat healthier foods, stop procrastinating, or whatever it is you’ve resolved to do, then there are three resolutions you need to make.

These three resolutions are the cornerstone for helping all your other resolutions come to fruition, and are the foundation for growth, success and an impressive 2016.

Personal Development

Agree with yourself to work on yourself. Whether you do this in the form of reading books from renowned personal development coaches, attend some seminars or courses, or follow some e-learnings, this is a must.

Improving yourself will allow you to understand what it is that’s been holding you back, and give you the tools and power to move forward. You can apply these learnings to those more tangible, measurable goals and resolutions; like the losing weight, or writing 1000 words per day.

Practice Mindfulness

This fits in neatly with improving your personal self. Being fully aware of the situations you’re in, how you’re feeling, why you’re doing what you are doing, enables you to consider how you will react to whatever is that’s going on.

Whether this is yet another uncomfortable interaction with a colleague, or you’re sitting on the couch, avoiding physical activity, you are given the power to take alternative action. You can choose to react to your colleague differently, or get up and go for that walk like you said you would.

Speaking of sitting on the couch, practicing quiet mindfulness, in a meditative way, is also of great benefit. Practice doing nothing on a daily basis. Make sure it’s a productive sort of doing nothing, though.

Awareness of Others

This is a tough one for a lot of people to grasp fully. We generally understand the concept of “walking in another person’s shoes”, but take this one step further, and practice it daily.

Again, it ties in with the other two, so you do not have to do too much extra work each day!

As you practice mindfulness, be aware of you’re the thoughts that pop into your head when you see a person; how they’re dressed, what they’re doing, how they’re behaving. What are you thinking?

When you’re confronted by a person, rather than considering walking in their shoes, think about what may be driving them to do what they’re doing in that moment. Ironically, many of us are quite happy to defend our actions by saying “I had a bad night’s sleep” or “I was rushed because the train was late”, but rarely, if ever, do they afford the same courtesy to others.

Consider the driving forces before you react. And while you’re at it, make communication skills part of your personal development!

As with all goals and resolutions, making them is nowhere near enough. Anyone can say something; it’s taking the action that will do the trick.

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Last week we touched on the topic of New Year’s resolutions to help give you focus, make your goals specific and ready your mind for change.  That’s all well and good, but what if your motivation is lacking in the first place; it can be hard to get yourself back on track.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

– Henry Ford

The summer holidays might be over but that doesn’t stop you dreaming about your past holiday, your next holiday or just simply wishing you were someplace else.  Here are some of my top tips to help maintain that motivation.

  1. Focus on the tasks that really give you enjoyment. There are always those jobs that we hate to do so I recommend either delegating them to someone else (even just for a short period) or putting them off for as long as possible.
  1. Negativity promotes negativity and if you find that you are hanging out with negative people then that very same feeling will rub off on you. How about socialising with those people who ooze positivity and feelings of determination and success?
  1. How about a bit of gratitude to help you through the day? You can easily sit there and think about how bad your life is or how bad your job is, however focussing on the good in your life will help to muster some motivation to help you through.
  1. Getting out of bed early and struggling to get to work amidst the bustling traffic can be a nuisance, but what about the benefits? Concentrating on the benefits of why you do what you do can help inspire you to do better than you ever imagined.
  1. One great way to stay on track despite waning enthusiasm is to keep yourself accountable. This will ensure that you don’t fall behind when you aren’t fully up to the task.  Getting behind in your work will drag you down even further so staying accountable will help maintain your goals.

Everyone goes through periods of self-doubt and lethargy, but if your work and career is truly something you are passionate about, then it is worth focussing on the good times rather than the bad when the doldrums set in.

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It is becoming more and more popular, in both business and personal worlds, to avoid making resolutions when the new year rolls around.

If you think about it, we generally tend to make the same resolutions, year after year:  lose weight, eat healthier, be more productive and/or organised, etc.  Yet we rarely manage to achieve these things.

In fact, many of us fail to even take action on them in the first place.

Rather than dismiss the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions as pointless, it is still important to make them. There are three very good reasons for doing so.

1. It gives you focus

Setting resolutions is the first step in goal setting for your business. Consider it the long-term or year-long goal, even if it is a partial step towards a longer-term or larger goal.

Although a resolution is stated more as an “I will do” than an “I want”, it will give you some direction and focus, something to work towards, rather than floundering about from one task to another with no real direction.

Which brings us to the next point.

2. Well written resolutions tell you ‘how’ as much as ‘what’

Similar to that of your goals, your resolutions are more effective when they are more specific. Resolutions such as “I want to lose weight” or “I will be more productive” or “My business will be successful” are far too vague and very likely to remain unmet.

If you’re heading for a goal, then follow the rules of goal setting:  be specific, add a time frame, add numbers or measurements.

If you’re working on yourself and your behaviours, such as being more organised or productive, then specify how you will do this. For example, you may state “I will do my filing at the end of each day” or you’ll choose to set aside half an hour at the end of each day to set a list for the following day.

Details and specifics will not only ensure your resolutions are met, but they will also show you how to take the steps towards a successful year.

3. It readies your mind for change

One remarkable thing about writing is when you write your goals, desires or resolutions, they help them to stick in your mind. It not only helps you remember them, it also helps to prepare your mind for the changes in your behaviours.

Nobody really likes change, and this is why habits are often very difficult to break.

Making resolutions with adequate detail will give your brain a bit of a warning about changes to come and prepare it a little.

It also affords you the opportunity to see just what the specific changes are and how you can implement them into your life. Rather than saying “I will be more organised”, for example, and having no idea how you’re going to do it, it details the steps for you. This is where overwhelm – and failure – can be avoided.

On a final note, on making your resolutions for 2015, remember to keep the focus on things YOU want to do, and not what others want you to do. Whilst you’re keeping your resolutions specific, also remember to make them achievable.

Best of luck for the New Year.

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As the end of the year approaches and we gear up for a new year, it is common for us to reassess what we’ve achieved, and also to make plans and resolutions for the year to come.

Generally, there is a lot of focus on things like losing weight, giving up smoking/drinking/gambling, or making quite a lot of promises to ourselves, which we’re really unlikely to keep.

Alternatively, we may set goals for certain things, whether it be in our jobs, our business, or just around the house.

Whilst these are all beneficial, there is a fundamental aspect to all of this goal setting, planning, and resolution making that is overlooked. That is, our personal development. We look ‘out there’ to the things we do, but forget to work on ourselves. Even the getting fit/giving up smoking goals are only a small aspect, and are either aided or thwarted by our own being.

Consider it the scaffolding for all your dreams, goals and plans. Without working on yourself, the rest is likely to be wobbly, if not completely unstable.

So how do you create your personal development plan?

It’s very much like goal setting for the usual things you set goals for. Grab a notepad or notebook, or set up a spreadsheet on your computer. A nice journal that appeals to you also helps with this process, as it feels special.

List all areas of your life, and create a page for each item. They will vary from person to person, but the most common key areas are:

  • Career
  • Finances
  • Health (mind, body, spirit – you may even like to list these as separate items)
  • Social
  • Relationships
  • Personal

You may prefer words that are more specific, for example, you may choose “business” over “career”. You may have other areas you’d like to add.

Take the time to really think about each area, and consider the following questions:

  • What do you want to achieve in this area?
  • Why do you want to achieve it?
  • How will you achieve it?

Answer each honestly and with as much detail as possible.

Then it is a matter of breaking these answers down into steps. For example, what is your answer for each:

  • In ten years?
  • In five years?
  • In two years?
  • In one year?

No one else can answer your What and Why, but the How is achieved through action, asking for help, attending courses or seminars, online learning and much more.

Looking carefully, now, at your One Year goal for each area of your life, what is it you need to be doing on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis to achieve these things?

Congratulations, you have just created your Personal Development Plan for 2015.

Good luck with it and it would be great to hear how you go!

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Ready or not…the new year has come!!  We covered a lot of ground in 2011 and much of it is worthwhile to revisit in order to move forward with a positive approach.

But before we do, take time to reread 10 Reasons You Need A Day Off and start the year as you mean to go on.  Being overworked does you, your family or your business no good at all.

2012 is your year. Your year to do what?  Shine?  Be noticed?  Develop your skills?  Whatever it is, our earlier article on How To Change Bad Work Habits may come in handy.

If you have a great idea and you are the only one who thinks it is great, regardless of how many times you mention it, then it might possibly be time to disregard it.  As we discussed in our article entitled Knowing When To Quit, if you don’t have support from your colleagues then your idea will not be given much chance to succeed.  If you recall, you will ultimately gain more respect by giving up on your unfavourable idea rather than tirelessly trying to pursue your cause.

If personal development is high on your list, check out Business Link’s questionnaire which will give you an assessment of your personal requirements.  If you save your final plan, you will be able to come back to the site, answer a few more questions and see how much your skills have improved.

Don’t wait another year to do the things you want to do – as another year may pass and you may still be in the same position while your colleagues are moving onwards and upwards.  Network, get referrals – do whatever you can to make a good year GREAT!

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