Which of the following statement(s) best describe(s) you when it comes to New Year’s resolutions at work?
- Don’t set them—it is a waste of time
- Set them—and it is a waste of time because I don’t take them seriously
- Set them, take them seriously, but am regularly disappointed in myself
- Set them, take them seriously, and have figured out how to make them work
- Set them for personal matters, but not professional or workplace situations
- Refuse to live my life this way, and/or …
- Sick of hearing about them—enough already!
- Other (There may be other categories. Let me know what you come up with so I can add it to the list.)
No matter how you feel about resolutions, one thing as inevitable as the arrival of the New Year is the advice forthcoming about how to write resolutions. For example: Write resolutions more like SMART goals that are specific and measurable, motivating, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, making them more achievable.
Resolution-setter, or not, I encourage you to consider a different focus this year. Let’s say you have notions for workplace resolutions such as …
- Be more timely when it comes to _____ (fill-in-the-blank with expense reports, budgets, performance reviews, etc.)
- Provide better customer service
- Make a greater contribution
- Achieve greater work-life balance
- Speak up in meetings
- Be more upbeat in the office
All of these so-called resolutions might benefit by being written as a SMARTer goal statement. But before you even attempt that, try shifting your focus to the question of “Why?” Ask yourself this key question: “Why did I create this resolution?”
Can you answer with one or more of these answers?
1) This resolution aligns with important values I have established.
2) This resolution helps me fulfill my work-life purpose.
3) The mere pursuit of this resolution brings me joy.
Any one of these three answers is going to result in a more resolute resolution. So before you start following the good advice about rewriting your resolutions as goals (or the less-good advice to incentivize yourself with rewards or perks) consider first asking “Why did I create this resolution?” and tie it to your values, purpose, and sense of joy.
At the end of the day (or week or year), you are more likely to experience an optimal Motivational Outlook and positive results when you channel energy to those things that have a meaningful why behind them.
Here’s to an optimally motivated New Year!
About the author:
Susan Fowler is one of the principal authors—together with David Facer and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Optimal Motivation process and workshop. Their posts appear on the first and third Monday of each month.
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