As we said goodbye to 2018 and felt the optimism attached to the fresh start that a new year can bring us, there is an expectation that resolutions should be made in order for our desires to be realised. But in the hustle and bustle of the festive season, is simply compiling a "Wish List" on the first day of the new year really going to get the job done? For me, I believe that there is one resolution we should all make and the good news is that it isn't too late to do it!

So what is this magical resolution you ask? It is simply that you take the month of January to really delve into what you want for the new year and develop S.M.A.R.T. resolutions that you will be put into practice from the start of February. This will give you the opportunity to not just enjoy the festive season with friends and family but also allow yourself the time to truly understand what is important to you - and get the right framework in place to achieve it.

We have all had the experience of coming up with a resolution and finding that by the end of January the wheels have all but fallen off and the drive is gone. All that is left is disappointment and the feeling that this is just the way things are meant to be. But it doesn't have to be this way, and whether it is in your personal life or in business there are things you can do to help keep you on track and ensure that year ahead is all that you want it to be.

Set S.M.A.R.T. resolutions

In the rush of a traditional resolution this is where we set ourselves up to fail. With the limited time committed to thinking about what we truly want it often results in a very vague and uninspiring goals being set. Instead we should be taking the time to set goals that are;

Specific: Really drill into what you would like to achieve and don't generalise things.

Measurable: Can you measure the outcome and define what success will look like? 

Attainable: There is no harm in dreaming big but make sure that your goal is actually realistic.

Relevant: Understand what really matters to you and your core values and ensure that your goals align with this.

Timely: Set a timeframe on things and increase your sense of urgency. You want this to happen right?

Document your resolutions

It is all very well to come up with a resolution but while it is stuck in your head it gets mixed up with everything else that you have to contend with on a daily basis. I am not saying to scribble down your resolutions onto different coloured sticky notes and plaster them in every room of the house either as these will just become part of your daily landscape. Since you have set aside a month to really think about what you want to achieve you need to commit to finalising the process and write things down in a journal or diary (I would highly recommend having a look at www.MiGoals.com). And remember to find a quiet place once a week to revisit what you have documented to keep you focused. People with written goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than people without written goals.

Have an accountability partner - and tell them why your resolutions are important

Failing quietly is so much easier as we simply experience some short term disappointment in ourselves.... no one needs to know and it wasn't really that important anyway. But the fact is that your resolutions are important and communicating why they are important to someone else that you respect will help to keep you accountable. We all have those periods when our drive can vanish or life just simply gets in the way, and this is where your accountability partner can really step up and remind you what achieving your goals will actually mean. People who tell someone about their goals are 78% more likely to achieve them than people who keep them quiet.

Use your willpower sparingly

Setting "relevant" resolutions will help you to increase your commitment to achieving your desired result but that in itself isn't enough. What I didn't realise is that we only have a finite amount of willpower that can be used each day. As we work through the day our willpower is called upon for a variety of reasons and due to this depletion we often find our hand around that chocolate bar later in the day although the goal was to eat better. Do things earlier in the day to  achieve your goals and use your willpower to eliminate temptation and distractions instead of battling with them on a daily basis. Some great examples are to use your willpower to not put the chocolate bar in your shopping trolley. If productivity and distractions are an issue use your willpower to activate an app such as Freedom.

Celebrate the successes and acknowledge the failures

If your resolution is both "measurable" and "timely" then you will not only know what success looks like but you will have a timeframe for being able to assess things. Set incremental targets so that the goal becomes a habit and make sure you celebrate each of these mini milestones. Change is positive and while you could have just kept things the way they were you haven't. While failures should be acknowledged they should not be held on to. It is important to understand why the failure has occurred but realise that each failure is simply a step closer to your success.

Enjoy the time in creating your vision for 2019 and while you are firing on all cylinders, maybe it is time to set up your business for the same success - business plans are key and we can assist you on setting up something you will be proud to share with other key people within your business.