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How To Make New Year’s Resolutions That Actually Stick

So you’ve made a New Year's Resolution. Several in fact. You’ve declared next year is YOUR year. Your business is going to triple, you’re going to be more productive, manage your teams better, nail time tracking on its head, and finally learn all those collaboration tools and apps you’ve been meaning to. You’ve got it sussed...or so you think until February rolls around, you’ve started none of the above and the year is about to slip past as it’s always done.   

Sound familiar? Let’s look at how you can STICK to your New Year’s resolutions and make 2016 your best year yet.

Step 1 – Tell somebody

“But I’ve told my mum,” you say. Yeah...that’s not quite what we mean.

See, while your mum is perfectly lovely, she’s bound to support you unconditionally, regardless of whether you fail to make progress on your resolutions. And that just won’t do. You need some Tough Love. And that means going PUBLIC with your resolutions. No, we don’t mean you need to declare your intentions to the whole office in a drunken stupor at the Christmas party. Try one of these options instead:

  • If you have a blog, it’s a great place to announce those resolutions to the world or your group of followers (and once the new year hits, post regular updates – see Step 2 below)
  • Post your intentions to your social network – LinkedIn or Twitter are particularly useful if you want to keep the audience limited/professional
  • Alternatively, if you want to keep your intentions private from colleagues, find someone reliable outside of family to share the plan with. A good friend or close work colleague perhaps.

Remember, once it’s out in ‘public’, the closer it is to becoming a reality.

Step 2 – Track your progress

The first step was easy. Now you actually have to hold up your end of the bargain. You need to record your progress so you can see how you’re tracking against your goals.

  • If you’re fond of the old-school Dale Carnegie approach, I recommend grabbing a notebook and scribbling achievements as they happen at the back. It’s also a really great excuse to get yourself a fancy Moleskine.
  • Get social on it – create a hashtag so people can follow your story on social media
  • Bloggers – Make video updates with your iPhone or webcam or design a monthly newsletter for your subscribers.

Step 3 – Make it a competition

There are undoubtedly hundreds of others in the same boat, either at your own workplace or competing workplaces. Get HR on board and devise an intra-office or inter-workplace competition with regular check-ins and a nice juicy reward at the end.

Step 4 – Get creative with the penalties!

The key to any successful New Year's Resolution is to ensure there is a fallout of not following through. For example:

  • If you slip up you’re on coffee duty for the rest of the week
  • Offer to do everyone’s paperwork if you miss a check-in/target/milestone
  • Promise you’ll look after the interns for the whole day if you don’t follow-through
  • Tell IT to cancel your work Spotify subscription for the rest of the year (I know it’s cruel but I’m trying to help).

Step 5 – Reward yourself

Here at WorkflowMax we’re all about positive reinforcement! And the best way to reward yourself for staying on track is to make sure you schedule in regular treats along the way. It might be something as small as a voucher, or as elaborate as a fancy dinner out...most importantly, remember to have some fun.

We would love to hear some your own New year’s work resolutions in the comments. What methods will you use to make them a reality?

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Mallika Goel
Mallika Goel is the communications manager at WorkflowMax, fresh from the agency world. She brings with her four years of experience working with some of New Zealand’s largest brands as well as more boutique ones. She thinks life’s too short to do one thing, so she keeps herself busy pursuing her many interests: an obsessive love of writing/blogging, fitness, travelling and design.

Mallika Goel