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“New Year, New Me!” We’ve heard it (and said it) more times than we can count. There’s something about the freshness of a new year, the “clean slate” that it arbitrarily provides that prompts people to focus and take control over their lives. Unfortunately, this optimism can be short lived. We often overwhelm ourselves with the typical first month of the year hyper-focused behavior, which includes crowded gyms, strict diets, and that dreaded planner! Yes, we’ve all had that planner that doesn’t get used after March. It’s almost like we use up all the energy for change before we even start.
2020 comes with a lot of pressure. Not only is it a new year, it’s a new DECADE. Now is our “one and only chance” to set the tone for the next ten years of our lives! But before we crush ourselves under this self-imposed pressure, it’s important to remember to slow down and that there's no race to success. As you journey through this new decade, you should consistently be working to be a better version of yourself, whether those are baby steps or major ones. To make this journey easier, we’ve compiled 5 useful tactics that could help keep you focused on your plans for 2020, while setting intentional goals for yourself.
What does a small accomplishment look like for you? Think about that before you charge into your loftier goals. Perhaps a large goal of yours is to become a “marketing manager,” what are the steps that you have to take in order to make this happen?
In this particular case, the small accomplishments could be researching different companies that have roles you are interested in or even writing your “dream gig” job description. We’re all guilty of excessively applying to random roles, or throwing spaghetti at the wall for large but unfocused dreams. It can be more effective to apply to fewer roles and spend more time on the application process tailoring your resume to best fit the role requirements or finding a contact at the company and trying to connect with them offline. In short, taking less but more specific steps can get you further along than big steps in a random direction. Whether you’re trying to get a new job or get in better shape, set realistic goals and break them down into actionable steps so you don’t burn out or get frustrated along the way.
Many people give up on their goals because they aren’t clear on their vision. Before you move in a direction, do you actually know what you want?
Whether you are 110% certain of your desires or are more indecisive, it always helps to write what you want down. For instance, you could write out a list of various preferences that you have professionally. It doesn’t have to be an abstract list of potential jobs you want. It can be broader. Example: “I’d like to work somewhere my professional growth is a priority for my manager.” You can also think about the resources that might be beneficial to your year of growth. If you want to be more organized in 2020, maybe it’s time for you to sign up for a project management program. Regardless of what ends up on your list, you’ll have a clearer idea of what is actually important to you. You might be surprised by what you wrote down!
Ok, here us out. This isn’t about faking it until you make it. It’s more about planning and mapping out your goals. Remember, a goal is just a dream with a plan. This is your time to thoroughly map out what your achievements should look like and what position they will put you in. Maybe this means that with a new job, you’ll be making more money. Try mapping out what a financial increase can look like for you. When you’re feeling discouraged or like you want to give up on your plans, take a look at that future plan. It might serve as an excellent motivator to “stick with it”!
When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back and recognized that you did something great? It’s probably been a while, which is why self reflection is so important. Although many obstacles may have come your way in 2019, you probably worked super hard and made some major breakthroughs. WRITE THEM DOWN. Make sure you’re balancing the constructive criticism you give yourself with that much deserved praise.This will give you more perspective on your progress.
Forward thinking is the theme for 2020. Be specific with your focus. If you want to exercise a skill, be very granular with what you’ll focus on in order to become more adept in it:
Do you want to work on your management skills? Maybe you need to start by managing people. Don’t have that opportunity yet? Talk to your boss about getting you on a management track or take a management course online.
Do you want to become a stronger writer? Maybe you should take some writing courses to challenge yourself.
Do you want to learn a new skill? Maybe you should do research on some affordable part time skill share courses.
In order to stay focused, consider coming up with a short mantra to guide you in 2020. Repeat it to yourself when you need to refocus in order to stay dedicated to your goals. Afterall, everyone’s process is different.