Note: I wrote this last week but our site had been hacked and I could not post it. Our good friends at AgniTEK have come to the rescue.
Okay, it is January 2 and I just can’t help myself. I swore, as I do every year, that I would not do resolutions. But I just can’t help myself.
Here’s the thing, Resolutions are an issue of project management, which is something that I know a little bit about. The reason that most people’s resolutions fail is that they do not approach them from this perspective. Together let’s create a resolution project that will work for you.
The first part of project management is to understand the intention of the project. Step back and think about it; what are the big issues that you want to get focused on this year? Is it personal, which most resolutions tend to be? You know, losing weight, exercising, saving money etc. How about relationship issues? Do you need to do a better job of communicating with your spouse, being more appreciative and supportive of your kids, a better helpmate? These are great resolutions to have because others are usually motivated to help you with them. How about work or productivity issues? Do you need to increase billable hours, spend less time online, do a better job with email…?
- Goal Setting
One of the keys to good project management is not to take on too many projects at one time. In the resolution department three is probably a stretch. The goal here is to do a good job and have success. Taking on too many will not only stretch you thin, it will also demotivate you as you fall short. These resolutions are important goals.
- Set quantifiable measurement
Now that you have your list narrowed to just a couple or, at most, a few things that you are going to feel good about accomplishing, let’s determine what success looks like. It is not good enough to say, “I’m going to be a better helpmate,” or “I’m going to get into better shape.” These vague declarations are the undoing of many a fine resolution. How will you measure being a better helper? What does being in better shape look like? Be realistic; don’t commit to doing all of the housework or winning the Tour de France.
- Set resources
Great! Project Resolution is coming along nicely. We have determined what is really important and set up a limited number of achievable goals. We have established a quantifiable definition of success. Now let’s think about resources. What are you going to need to accomplish your goal? How much time are you going to need to devote to accomplishing your goal on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Is there going to be an investment? Maybe a gym membership or some sort of tool is needed. What people are you going to need to enlist? Are you going to need a personal trainer, an instructor of some sort or just someone to help keep you on task?
- Scope of work
Now we need to break the project into its component parts. If the goal is to loss 30 pounds, how are we going to achieve that? It will probably involve both diet and exercise. What type of exercise? You probably will not start out by running a marathon, but running a half marathon may be part of how you are going to do to get to your goal and provide a long-range plan. What steps are necessary to get there?
Now lets think about the schedule. Start slow, you have a whole year to accomplish your goal. And, as you agreed to make it a manageable goal, there should be room for contingencies. Life will happen. There will be times that you fall off the diet, fail to get the distance in you had hoped for, had to be out of town and couldn’t get all the work done that you had originally planned on. If you have created a manageable plan, you will be able to get back on the path. Your plan should include monthly or quarterly benchmarks. If your goal requires establishing new habits you will want to start with more frequent benchmarks – maybe weekly or even daily as you get started. Task habits take between 30 and 70 reputations to form.
You cannot expect to reach your goal without the right amount of oversight. For most of us this means something other than just self-discipline but that is certainly where it must start. Enlist the help of a friend, spouse or paid consultant to help with this.
How often are you going to assess your progress and how are you going to make that assessment? As mentioned above, there needs to be more assessment early in the process. Are you achieving your intermediate goals? If not, why? Is the goal realistic? Is there something that you need to adjust elsewhere in your life to be able to dedicate the time or resources necessary to accomplish this goal? Do you need to dedicate more time, get more help or reassess the goal? This is the point of derailment for many people. They wanted to loss 30 pounds but the fact is they do not have time to train for the half marathon that was part of the plan. Defeated, they abandon the plan, feel bad about themselves and put on 10 pounds. The New Year’s resolution was not accomplished and it made the problem even worse. This is why it is so important to make sure that the project is reasonable and to have a process for readjustment along the way. Okay, you don’t have time to train for a half marathon, but you do have time to walk for half an hour three times a week. So downsize your goal to losing 20 pounds. And then after a month of your regiment you find that you are not losing as much weight as you thought you would. That is okay; you have reassessment as part of your plan. In the end you may have only lost 10 pounds but, by sticking to your plan, you accomplished something and you stuck with it. Next year you will only set your goal at 15 pounds and having established a workable plan, you will be in much better shape to accomplish your goal.
What are your new years resolutions? Keep in mind sharing resolutions is a step toward committing to them. If your New Years resolution includes something about your home, be sure to give us a call.