Many of us have a tendency to attempt to make changes to our lives at specific times; “I’ll start my diet on Monday,” “That will be my New Years Resolution.” Because of this, the changes we set out to make are often unsuccessful because we pigeonhole ourselves to a specific time frame. Here’s a secret: being less focused on a calendar-based time constraint and more focused on actually making the change is the key to success. We can often be hard on ourselves if we don’t accomplish our goals by some set time, and we lose sight of what is really important.
Today’s the day
Instead of waiting for January 1st to roll around, ask yourself today what changes you want to make. Whether it be a personal or a professional change, it is essential to check in with yourself every so often to see if you like the way things are going in your life.
For example, say that the change you would like to see made is that you get a promotion. That’s a good start, although it’s fairly abstract. From there, you have to dwindle down to a plan of action.
Be specific and honest with yourself
Your next step may be to make a list of the ways you can get to that promotion: get to work a little earlier/stay a little later, seek out new tasks and responsibilities rather than wait for them to be assigned to you, initiate some sort of team-building activity, etc.
The more detailed and less abstract your plan is, the more likely it is to be successful.
Now, once you have your idea all worked out, it is time for execution.
Hold yourself accountable
In order to keep yourself on track, try keeping a journal of your accomplishments. This helps to create a personal environment of motivation and it’s great to have on hand come performance review time.
If you need a bigger push in regard to accountability, maybe recruit a friend (either a personal friend or in the workplace) and urge them to set goals for themselves as well. This way, you have someone to check in with and someone to motivate you.
In the end…
At the end of the day, change has to come from your own intrinsic motivation. Opportunities, generally, don’t just fall into one’s lap, so don’t waste your time waiting for something to happen…make it happen.