Resolutions or Priorities?

If you are ready to take your life and career to the next level, then don’t make any new year’s resolutions. Yup, you heard right - resolutions don’t work and they make us feel worse in the long run. We kick off the year excited about all the changes we intend to make and then what happens? You guessed it - we get “busy” and those well intended resolutions fall by the wayside. As a result, we end up feeling bad about ourselves for not sticking with them.

Unfortunately, resolutions do not lead to success. They don’t help us create the best life ever and they certainly don’t help us take our careers to the next level. Priorities do! Like it or not most of us live on auto pilot, letting life lead us, reacting to everything around us. We love saying we are so busy. In fact, being busy has become a silent badge of honor. "There aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done" is a daily mantra for most. The truth is, there is plenty of time in a day, but we waste time without even realizing it! It all comes down to choices. Would you rather spend time on email, social media, or TV or would you rather be focused on what matters most to you?

You could be living the life you desire, be on track for that dream job or promotion, or excelling in your current role, but you haven’t taken the time to think about what you truly desire, and I mean truly desire. We avoid thinking about what we truly desire for many reasons; it takes time to do it and it can feel very overwhelming. We may also have feelings of guilt that we don’t deserve to focus on ourselves. Creating the best life ever requires us to take a step back, to look at our current lives, and to figure out what’s working and what’s not. We need to consider what we like and what we don’t like, and most importantly what behaviors are holding us back from what we truly desire.

Success comes from identifying what is most important to us and then focusing on those priorities. Everything else can either be delegated, deleted, or delayed until we can find another way to get it done. For example, an Olympic athlete’s goal is to win a medal. Knowing that, they focus only on the activities that will make them better than everyone else they are competing against. Their priorities might include a special diet and exercise program, daily water intake, daily practice routine and the amount of sleep they get each day. Everything else becomes irrelevant.

I understand we can’t all be this extreme in our everyday lives, but we can take a page out of an athlete’s book. If you want to live your best life ever or simply improve in one area in your life, you need to figure out what is most important to achieving your goal and stay focused on what's required. This requires giving up everything not related to achieving this goal. This is where it gets tricky - we get pulled away from our priorities by all the non-value activities such as email, social media, and TV. Without realizing it, we waste several hours a day and then complain about not having enough time. I challenge you to kick off the new year with your key priorities instead of new year’s resolutions.

Here’s an example of how I do it. Self-care is my fundamental priority. If I don’t take care of me first, I can’t be my best self for my son, my clients, and my friends. Each week, I identity my self-care activities and schedule them into my calendar. Next, I have four key priorities to focus on: my son, work, friends and community. Within each priority I have 1-3 big goals for the year. Each week, I identify key activities related to each priority. If an activity doesn’t relate to a priority, I either delegate it, delete it, or figure out a creative way to get it done. This process helps me stay focused on my priorities. I have time to do what is most important and you can too. Are you ready to have the best year ever? I know I am!

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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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