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Careers- How to keep your New Year's resolutions

Published:Sunday | January 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Glenford Smith

Glenford Smith, Contributor

Precisely a year ago, Time magazine revealed that while 65 per cent of the people who made a resolution in 2008 kept their promise for at least part of the year, 35 per cent never even made it past the first week. I believe that the experience of most Jamaicans is similar.

The fact is that for most people, the New Year's resolution exercise, while a worthy one, is really an exercise in futility, frustration and failure. This need not be the case, however.

There are compelling examples of people who have resolved to lose weight, stop smoking and drinking, end toxic relationships, develop better work habits, or make a quantum leap in their career achievements and who have followed through and done it.

As psychologist Dr Stan Goldberg stated in his now classic Psychology Today cover story titled 'The 10 Rules of Change' that "self-change is tough, but it's not impossible, nor does it have to be traumatic".

The following five strategies will help you to escape the centripetal force of habit and follow through on your 2011 resolutions.

1. Have crystal-clear commitments

This requires writing down specific, measurable goals with deadlines. For example: I will develop the habit of being punctual for work by March 15; by April 30 I will have $20,000 in savings; I will register my business by January 15; I will enrol in teachers' college this September; or, I will double my monthly sales by March 31.

2. Set up systems and structures to succeed

Spontaneity has its place but it takes disciplined routines to develop new habits and reinvent ourselves. It helps to establish systems that relieve us of the need to depend upon good moods to perform and follow through. For example, wake up and go to bed a set time every day to ensure you're adequately rested to arrive at work on time. Also, set up automatic salary deductions at your bank or credit union to stick to your savings resolution.

3. Start small and build momentum

Small successes early on will motivation you to continue. Start saving $1,000 a month at first. Arrive to work early one day a week at first, then two, and so on. Collect and fill out your university application form to start; don't worry about tuition fees as yet. Make one more sale per week to start.

4. Partner with others for success

Form strategic alliances with the peak performers at work. Seek mentors who will can spot your blind spots and hold you accountable. Network with others who are working to achieve the same goals you are committed to achieve.

5. Persist until you succeed

Expect to fail. Refuse to give up, however. Ultimately, success in self-change and career advancement comes from the commitment to pay the price. If you don't have the will to persevere until you win, then perhaps you shouldn't make any resolution until you do. You will most certainly succeed, however, if you persist in working towards your goals.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. Email: glenfordsmith@yahoo.com