What Will You Change in the New Year?

If you are like me you don’t go for the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. From what I’ve read about them not many people are successful with this process. The classic example is people who join a gym at the beginning of the year and within a month or two are no longer attending. But, resolutions are not the same as asking what will you change in the new year and there are real differences.

How is it Different?

When I think of asking what will I change in the new year I’m really thinking more along the lines of refining and creating new goals. These are goals that fit the acronym of SMART goals. That is, they are:

  • Specific rather than vague
  • Measurable rather than open to interpretation
  • Attainable in that they are realistic
  • Relevant in that they matter
  • Time Bound as in they have a completion date

So, rather than someone saying, “I want to get in better shape so I’m going to join a gym”, it makes more sense to say, I want to lose 10 pounds, reduce my heart rate an average of 10 beats per minute, and increase my flexibility so that I can touch my toes. I want to do this by the end of March of the coming year. This matters because I want to protect my health.” Then when they do join a gym they have specific goals for which to strive.

A Method

In How to Block Business Distractions I mentioned the use of the 4 Quadrant Planning form to keep us focused on what matters. Here is a sample of that form with some imaginary items recorded in it.

4 quadrant planning example

So, what does this have to do with the question, “what will you change in the new year?” Well, quite frankly, when you identify things that you want to change or accomplish, at some point they should appear on this form to increase you likelihood of success. If something is really, really important but not urgent then put it in the Quadrant 2 category of IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT and as your goal deadline gets closer you will find that you should move it into Quadrant 1 for items that are both URGENT AND IMPORTANT. Hopefully by using this form to help direct your activity you will find that by the time you move something from quadrant 2 to quadrant 1 you will have already done quite a bit in accomplishing it and the time deadline will not look so daunting.

Get Ahead on the Mundane

If you know there are mundane and routine things that have to be done and are always in Quadrant 1 then see if you can get ahead of them. For example, if you know that the monthly financial closing is always in the Quadrant 1 category URGENT AND IMPORTANT, see if there are certain things you can do way in advance of month end. That way you may be able to knock out some of the routine things so that your focus can be put on the Quadrant 2 IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT items.

Basically, “what will you change in the new year” is really about Category 2 for IMPORTANT BY NOT URGENT ITEMS. This is where the changes really happen that matter in the long run.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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