Most people see the new year as the ideal time to make changes in their lives. You join a gym to get in shape, try a new weight-loss diet, set-up financial goals, vow to travel more, or take on some other personal fulfillment goal.

I witness this every January at the yoga studio I own. Our classes are packed with enthusiastic patrons eager for self-improvement, but the numbers quickly dwindle when life takes over and it's no longer a priority in their life. 

The main reason I'm not a fan of traditional New Year's resolutions is that they focus too much on the end result without much thought on the planning needed to achieve them. For lasting change, you need to invest more in the journey, not the final destination.

So instead of resolutions, think about making new commitments, and spend the time to map out how you're going to achieve the results you want both in your personal and professional life. 

Here are six new commitments to consider for 2019 to grow both your business and yourself: 

1. Realign your long-term goals.

Did you make any long-term business goals last year? If so, are you still on the right path? If you didn't, then now is a good time. It's much easier to focus your attention on what needs to be done in say three or six months, but where do you want to be at year's end, three years later, and five years down the road?

If you are not clear about your long-term goals then it's harder to make the changes you need to ensure you meet them. After making a list of your long-term goals, make a note in your calendar for the first day of every quarter to revisit them and see if you are still on track.

2. Build and share your personal brand.  

Whether you are in business for yourself or work for a company, a personal brand is essential for your present and future growth. At my yoga studio, it's important that everyone feels comfortable no matter their size, shape or physical ability. We create an environment that aligns with that brand and carefully monitor it.

I have found that if you can't define yourself and what you do, others will do that for you. There are many ways to develop your brand. Once you have developed it, you can share it many ways, such as through social media, networking internally or externally, and marketing campaigns.

3. Turn business planning into a weekly event.

We often only do business planning when it's necessary. But regular brainstorming sessions can often stimulate ideas before they are needed as well as address concerns that are not always obvious.

During my sessions, I always go through our current SWOT: strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. After that analysis, we list the key takeaways and tasks and then divide them into three categories: short, medium, and long term. This way we can begin to plan and execute a strategy.  

4. Invest in your health.

If you are not healthy, you can't focus on your business. Are you up-to-date on routine doctor's appointments? Are there areas where you can improve the food choices you make to help maintain a healthy weight and fuel energy levels? Focus on one area of your health each month and take the necessary steps to address it and create long-term good habits.

For your mental health, commit to learning something new such as a language or music. Not only will a new hobby give you more work-life balance, but it will help you create new neural pathways in your brain for greater well-being and problem solving.

5. Give back to your community.

Nothing grows goodwill for both you and your business better than giving back. In my studio, we chose a non-profit organization called Project Yoga, that provides yoga to underserved communities.

Find a worthy cause in your community that matters to you and give what you can. It doesn't have to be a financial contribution either. Volunteer, serve on a committee, and be a mentor.

6. Take time for yourself every single day.

It's essential that you schedule time daily to recharge and refresh your body and mind. This helps unleash built-up stress as well as  sharpen your focus. Your daily break can be as simple as closing your eyes for two minutes and being silent, reading a book, taking a walk, or listening to music. Schedule your daily break on your calendar, and stick to that appointment just like it was a business meeting.

A new year is a great opportunity to reflect on where you are now and where you want to go. But rather than taking on empty resolutions, adopt new commitments instead with a focus on the plan, not just the end result. They can help improve the skills you need to make lasting change in your life and business.

Published on: Dec 27, 2018
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