This can be a challenging time of year. Workloads are mounting again, the weather is miserable and our New Year’s Resolutions didn’t even outlast the leftover turkey. Combined with the knowledge that you’ve exhausted everything on Netflix, you have yet to clear your Christmas credit card balance and you still can’t fit into your ‘thin trousers’, it’s no wonder that February is considered a depressing month.
Statistically the most common failed resolutions are health related and involve losing weight, eating healthier, getting fitter and drinking less alcohol. Other top New Year goals include making better business decisions, improving work life balance, saving money and reorganising finances. Disastrously, according to YouGov YouGov nearly two thirds of Britons make New Year’s resolutions but of these, nearly one third are broken by the end of January!
So why do resolutions and goals fail?
Psychology professionals have long identified what they call the “false hope syndrome” where resolutions are significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with people’s view of themselves. This is clearly unsustainable. Ray Williams for Psychology Today says that ‘In order for resolutions to work it is necessary to change behaviours by changing your thinking and effectively “rewiring” the brain. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it’.
So instead, this is really about focusing on the seemingly unimportant daily habits and behaviours 365 days a year rather than trying to implement a complete overhaul on New Year’s Day!
Refocus your Business Resolutions for February
Here are five tips to help refocus and motivate this month:
1 – Keep your eye on the goal.
People are generally over ambitious in respect of personal and business resolutions and become overwhelmed by the enormity of achieving them. Focus one goal at a time, rather than several in order to prioritise your time and move steadily towards the target.
“Being productive and being busy are not necessarily the same thing. Doing things won’t create your success; doing the right things will”
2 – Set realistic and specific goals.
For example, ‘growing turnover’ is not a very helpful, whereas a target of 5% annual growth for the current year would help create a more focused approach where progress can be regularly monitored and evaluated. Ensure goals are realistic and sustainable to enable them to be approached with the level of consistency necessary to achieve tangible results.
“We are what we repeated do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”
3 – Focus on the present.
Don’t blame or regret past actions or decisions, learn from them and move on. ‘If only this had been different, I would be successful’ won’t help you now. Instead, focus on what you can achieve today.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
4 – Increase your self-awareness.
Being aware of your physical, emotional and mental state will help you observe and develop your external energy and establish positive thought patterns and behaviours which in turn will impact and motivate those around you.
“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.”
5 – Hope ain’t a plan.
Ensure you have an up to date personal and/or business plan. Break it down into bite-sized pieces and revisit it regularly. A five year plan and clear strategic direction is crucial to ensure that you remain on track and are well prepared for all eventualities.
“Success isn’t always about greatness, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come… Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson