It is new year and we’re all familiar with the cycle.

First: We get pumped up about the New Year. We picture how different we could be – maybe we could finally run that 10k or read 100 books this year. We get all excited about the possibility of being the version of ourselves that we’ve always wanted to be, and we’re optimistic about the change.

Then: We commit to doing things differently than the year before (This is where the motivation kicks in). Maybe we’d sign up for a gym membership or an audiobook subscription. Or perhaps buy a new planner and sneakers and start hitting the gym at 6am. This stage feels good. We’re finally doing it!

Also read: 9 Actionable HR New Year Resolutions For 2019

But eventually: We fall back into old habits. After a few weeks, the motivation wears off, and we lose steam – maybe too many missed alarms or competing commitments. But we drop our new resolutions and return to old routines.

Certainly, we’re not doomed to being stagnant forever, so how can we get better about keeping our resolutions?

As it stands, there are three keys that you can use to get consistent about change.

  1. Choose Carefully – If we choose a goal that’s not meaningful to us, or pick a resolution only because we think that we should (but ones that we don’t actually want), it’ll be tougher to stick with it in the long run. Our goals need to be appealing enough to overcome the urge to quit when motivation fades.
  2. Build Habits – While your motivation is high, use it to build new habits. For example, instead of saying “I’ll read 52 books this year” start reading 20 minutes every night. Once you integrate the new habit in your routine, you’ll eventually do it whether you feel like it or not – just like we do with the dozens of micro-habits we perform everyday, like showering and brushing our teeth. It becomes automatic.
  3. Keep it Simple – Huge and ambitious goals are attractive, but if you’re just starting, it may be best to keep your goal small and focused. Instead of trying to overhaul everything (like an entire diet, for example), focus on one component of it (like your water intake).

Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to the next component. Now, how can we apply this to work? Well, it depends on your goals.

Also read: How To Kickstart 2019 Using OKRs

If you’re looking to be more connected to your network, you can create the habit to have coffee with a colleague every Friday at 11am or send a short note of gratitude every Monday at noon. If you want to grow your subject-matter expertise, you can spend 15 minutes a day reading articles from the major publications in your field. If you want to improve your public speaking, perhaps volunteering to share a set area update at a standing meeting will help.

Maybe these goals and habits aren’t as dramatic and exciting as running a marathon, giving a Ted Talk or starting a podcast. But at the end of the day, it’s better to take small, consistent actions and let them build momentum, than to take no action at all. You could be an entirely new person in a year.


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