It is that time of year when many of us set goals or make resolutions for the coming year.
For some of us, those resolutions are mere intentions. The difference between an intention and a resolution is that intentions are acts of thinking, whereas resolutions are acts of committing. To resolve is to commit. And to set measurable goals around those resolutions turns commitments into measurable actions that help you realize your intentions.
So, as you set out to make 2023 your most successful year yet, turn those intentions into actions. Resolve to act. Remember that an established direction, outlined with purposeful thought, followed by action will help you live a proactive rather than reactive life.
Here are a few tips:
Have a personal mission statement. Your personal mission statement defines who you are, what you’re all about and what your mission in this life is. Why are you here? It is a high-level clarifying statement of purpose.
Have long-term goals. Future goals give your life purpose. You achieve more by planning your time around your long-term goals. With them in mind, you can start logically preparing, instead of just letting things just “happen.” When you are 90 years old and looking back on your life, what is it that you wish you would have accomplished?
Set weekly and monthly priorities. To create effective work and life objectives, you need to know where you are expected to invest your time, energy, talents, and company and personal resources. Standing back and planning your activities and results on a weekly and monthly basis will allow you to drill down to schedule your day and prioritize your tasks in a meaningful way.
Daily tasks. Create and prioritize your “to-do” list each day, using those long-term, weekly and monthly goals as a guide. This helps ensure that your daily activities will result in you taking action that allows you to reach your weekly, monthly and long-term goals.
Shut down distractions. In the information age, distractions abound. Whether it is the ding of an incoming e-mail, the bling of a text message or your desire to check your eBay listing, we all could spend an entire day handling distractions. Successful people manage their distractions rather than succumb to them. And it is not only technology that can distract you but people, as well. Beware of others distracting you as they pursue their goals, inadvertently adding things to your “to-do” list rather than their own.
Assess your time. Set realistic expectations about how much time each of your tasks will take. Many times, people put 20-plus hours of actions on a “to-do” list for an eight-hour day. This leads to disappointment and frustration. I like to suggest that people estimate the amount of time for each task and then double that amount as they plan. In other words, if you think it will take you five minutes to make a telephone call, estimate 10 minutes. Effective daily planning lets you realize more of your expectations and reduce your personal stress levels.
Conduct regular reviews of your plans. Reviewing your objectives is one of the most important aspects of time and priority management. Because this action falls under the category of “important but not urgent” activities, it easily can fall by the wayside. Scheduling regular meetings with yourself (weekly works best for me) to review your long-term goals and interim action steps can go a long way toward keeping you focused and achieving more. If businesses can regularly review their strategic plans, why can’t you?
Successful people set a priority on planning their life goals. Starting with your personal mission statement as a guide, create personal and professional long-term goals, break them down into short-term objectives, and create quarterly and monthly plans that drill down to weekly objectives and then to daily activities. This provides both direction and focus.
Bottom line: You achieve your long-term objectives by doing today what will lead to tomorrow’s results. Turn those intentions into resolutions into measurable goals that work for you.