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Episode 008: The new year is around the corner and so is resolution agony for many professionals. The start of a brand new year is a natural opportunity to reset, regroup and consider what your plan for 2020 might look like. Setting goals for your networking activities is no different. There are many, many resources you can find for telling you how to set goals. For many people they work like a charm. BUT what if they don’t work for you? It can be frustrating when you can’t seem to make changes in areas of your professional or personal life the way you want. In this episode Eric takes a look at this issue and offers some simplified ideas to help you rethink your resolution reluctance for 2020.
What was the easiest resolution or goal you ever made and kept?Leave a comment below with your answer!
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To help you use the techniques I talked about in the episode refer to this handy infographic and refer to it as you listen to the show, or if you want to re-listen to the show later:
The holidays are upon us and the new year is right around the corner. So let’s take a moment and talk about the elephant in the room… new years resolutions. I know, please contain your excitement.
A few years ago as New Year approached I was bemoaning the fact that I had, once again, failed to achieve my goal of eating better and exercising. I’m notoriously terrible at dieting and when presented with sweets, especially ice cream, I’m as predictable as a cat with a glass on a table… it’s not a question of will the glass get knocked off, so much as how quickly. This is common knowledge and my family and friends know it’s a challenge. That particular year my best friend Kimberly was sharing how she and her husband Greg had been making smoothies as part of their effort to eat healthy for the past year. She suggested I give it a try. I think I mumbled something noncommital… with no particular intention of following through.
But a few weeks later I received a big box from her as my holiday present… any guess what was in it? A smoothie blender. Now Kimberly is smart, and she knows me so well it came with an out… “just give it a try. if you don’t like it, give it back and I’ll use it at the office.” That was reasonable, so I said okay, I would give it a try.
Then she shared some tips. Freeze the fruit and greens so you don’t have to add ice. Use protein powder to make it healthier, more substantial and give it more of a milk shake like consistency. When we finished I was actually kinda excited about trying it the next morning. The real question though was whether I would be able to make it a habit? Would that habit stick? I wasn’t sure but I was willing to give it a try.
Maybe you have faced similar situations yourself. Perhaps you’ve even tried to get a habit formed only to have it fizzle and fade by March… or sooner. It can be really difficult to change behavior and create new habits. Watching others who seem to do it effortlessly can be more frustrating than motivating. Avoiding it only leaves you stuck in the same place with the same frustrations… if only you could figure out how keep that resolution. This episode I want to talk about that… when the common tips, techniques and tricks don’t seem to work for you.
The beginning of the year is a logical time to reset, regroup and reflect on how you want to approach the next 12 months of your life… professionally and personally. Often that means you plan but don’t achieve… it may be that with a slight shift you can get better results. What makes it tricky is that there is no ONE way to set goals and keep them. It’s an individual sport, so to speak.
There is lots of information and tons of articles, books, courses and advice on how to go through the process of setting goals and tracking them. Those work very well for a lot of people. I’m not going to go into those in this episode. What I am going to do is speak to the people who it doesn’t work for… so if you’ve tried SMART, BHAG, gamifying or any other system for setting goals and it hasn’t worked this episodes for you.
Here’s the first thing I’ve learned… those systems DO work. They are great information. But the system isn’t enough by itself. I often talk about this with marketing and sales… you can run almost any marketing or sales system and it will work… IF you have two key things. If you know exactly who your customer really is, and you know exactly what messaging to use to get their attention. Without those, NO system will work. (more about those topics in future episodes).
It turns out that goals and new years resolutions are very similar… any basic system will keep you on track and help you achieve… IF you really want that goal badly enough.
You may be thinking “THAT’S the big revelation? Duh! Eric.” But bear with me a minute. It’s not so simple as it sounds. When you delve into it motivation is an extremely complex and elusive thing. What motives one person won’t necessarily motive you. Logic is also often not enough to truly motivate you to really DO something. Many times external events or factors FORCE you do to something… but that’s not the same as self-generated motivation.
So let’s talk about that for a minute… because what I’ve learned in over 50 years on the planet is that if I really WANT to do something I will figure out HOW to make it happen. I often talk about it like an on/off switch in my brain. Until the switch if flipped to on… that thing is not going to happen. No matter how much I “wish” it to happen. But once that switch is flipped to ‘on’ it’s like a light coming on in the dark. Almost immediately the entire scene looks and feels different. I find it no so hard to do things… the resistance just evaporates… or at least lessens. I find it easier to put up with difficulty and obstacles become challenges. It’s as if the thing is already real in my mind… I just have to walk through the steps to get to it.
That’s what I did with my smoothies. I went and bought smoothie stuff… fruit and green tea and spinach and a vegan protein powder. I decided to try it for a week. My goal was to leverage the fact that I’m not a morning person. so the idea of a 5 minute breakfast that tasted like a fruit milkshake that I didn’t have to feel guilty about was attractive. That made it easier to do every day. I made the process simple. I didn’t overcomplicate it. A few simple ingredients… drink it on my way to the office… BAM, easy to do.
Ultimately what made it work was that I decided I WOULD do it. Not COULD… WOULD. I just decided and then acted like it was real. I’ve been drinking smoothies every morning since and while that doesn’t make the rest of my diet better, it does mean at least once a day I am putting really good stuff into my system. and now it IS a habit.
So… here’s some suggestions for your consideration. It’s all in the choosing. I chose something that was extremely easy… and Kimberly just made it that much easier by giving me the tool I needed… which is why we’ve been best friends for more than two decades.
1. goals only work when you’re crystal clear on your why… and why THAT matters to you
2. Often we’re trying to work against our own nature to
force externalized idea of goals- focus inside you!
3. there is no simple answer to how to effect a change… no silver bullet answers
4. define ONE thing you want to address… no more than one (keep it simple)
5. spend real, thoughtful time to consider WHY you want to make THAT change… look for clarity!
6. If you really don’t feel strongly about it… then it will NOT make a good goal. At least until you do.
7. Clearly Decide what you’re willing to ACTUALLY give up or suffer to get it… be HONEST! Don’t think “I could do that”… ask yourself “WILL I really do that?” If the answer is no… then you won’t. if you can honestly answer YES then you’re halfway there.
8. With that ONE thing you will do in mind… make a commitment to figure out how to do it… you may not know details… that’s fine… just decide to do it… the fact that you know you will makes all the difference. You’ll get the details figured out. You’ll probably find that you’ll actually WANT to figure it out and it will get exciting or at least interesting. THEN create a plan with action steps.
9. At that point all the other systems and processes should work. The key is don’t pick too many things… you might distract yourself. Just take it a bite at a time. ONE thing at a time.
10. I’d love to hear about any other ideas or tips you may have picked up over the years along these lines. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you? You an always leave a story about it on the episode page at www.adventuresinnetworking.net.
Please share this episode with anyone you know who might appreciate it. Group discuss?
Join the discussion at the website, www.adventuresinnetworking.net. by answering this question “What’s the easiest goal you’ve ever set and achieved?” I’m curious! I hope you have a wonderful holiday and safe new year celebration. Until next time remember, life is an adventure… so keep exploring! peace.