Every year, countless numbers of my optimistic peers will write a list of New Year's resolutions. These lists will include lofty ambitions such as "get a promotion" as well as easier goals like "go to the gym." Regardless of the goal, most resolutions will be forgotten faster than New Year's confetti.
I don't make New Year's resolutions. I do have a list of goals, both personal and professional, that I regularly update throughout the year. At New Years, I instead focus on what I call my New Year's "Will Not Do" resolutions. This is not a reverse To Do List ("I will not eat unhealthy" versus "I will eat healthy"). It is a list of challenges and behaviors that are distracting me from achieving my goals.
Like the first step in any twelve-step treatment, you first have to admit you have challenges before you can overcome them. Below is my list for 2013. Hopefully you can relate and derive a little usefulness from it.
1. I Will Not Make Any More Excuses
Guilty. It's easy to make a list of things to accomplish. It's infinitely easier to find excuses to not do them. While it may seem you don't have enough time, money, or energy to do something, remember that nobody does. And yet the most successful people in the world seem to find the necessary resources to accomplish their goals.
2. I Will Not Cheat
Guilty. Shortcuts can be good, but one often leads to another and eventually leads you down a path to the dark side (I've been watching Star Wars recently). Taking shortcuts professionally leads to poor and embarrassing performance at work. Taking shortcuts personally can lead to poor relationships and poor health. Apply yourself, do your best as often as you are humanly able, and take shortcuts only when you have exhausted all other alternatives.
3. I Will Not Use (Waste) My Time On Useless Activities
Guilty! Since the introduction of the smart phone and the proliferation of data networks, I have developed a mild case of A.A.D.D. (Adult Attention Deficiency Disorder). Too many news feeds, podcasts, blogs, social media networks, documentary movies, college football games and apps (Scramble with Friends anyone?) consume the little precious time I have that could be dedicated to achieving my other goals. Indeed, I have often been astonished at the productivity achievable with the rediscovered time and focus I have after turning everything off.
4. I Will Not Get Frustrated
Guilty. It is incredibly easy these days to get stressed. Things are going poorly at work. The world is flush with war. Georgetown basketball is falling in the rankings. Regardless of the impetus, getting stressed and frustrated puts a significant strain on your work, your personal relationships, and your health. More important, it leaves you with less energy to focus on your goals. Learn to deal with stress, refocus your energy, and move on.
5. I Will Not Cast Blame
Okay, I'm not so guilty. As the co-founder and CEO of Wild Creations, there is nobody I can blame for bad business decisions or poor performance, unless I write a complaint letter to myself. I often meet and see, however, people who constantly blame others for failures. These are the "Can't People" ("I can't do this because..." or "It can't be done because ..."). Remember, you are the one and only person who controls your destiny. Once this becomes clear, you can look past failures, stop feeling helpless, and focus on goals and the future.
Like me, you are probably guilty of one or more of the issues on this list. Nobody's perfect, but when you limit the distractions in your life, you'll be better prepared to follow through with your New Year's resolutions. At the very least, maybe you'll make it to the gym a little more often.
What are some of your resolutions for 2013?