It’s New Year’s Resolution time. Yes, that time of year where we set epic plans for the year to come, only to give up on most or all of them by February 1. The problem is not coming up with goals but actually accomplishing them. Maybe last year this time you were snuggled up in your chair by the fire, your mind wandering through the possibilities for 2012? Maybe a few of these were on your list:
Right now you may be in that same chair snuggled by the fire. You have new goals, and let’s face it a bunch from last year. Get a pen and paper, (switching apps on the ipad to take notes sucks,) and follow the three steps below. You’ll be on the way to crossing goals off your list in no time.
1. Write it Down
The first rule in goal writing: take some quiet time. Give yourself an hour maybe two. Just you, a note pad and if you’re like me a lot of coffee. Write everything that comes to mind. Nothing is off limits, nothing is out of bounds, just write. I’m giving you permission to go nuts here. You don’t even need lined paper or complete sentences.
2. Break it Down
Now that you have a cluttered mess of goals it’s time to grab the ones that stick out. Dedicate a notebook page to each of them. Break your big goal down into incremental action items. Your goal may take a year but by focusing on one day or week at a time it becomes more manageable.
Take your action items and assign “Use by Dates” to them. You’ve heard of a “call to action” in marketing. It works. Give people a date and it creates a sense of urgency. Use by dates will do the same for you. Check out this super easy app for tracking goals.
3. Be Held Accountable
Ah yes, accountability. We all like the idea except when it applies to us. The linchpin to a New Year’s resolution that sticks is your friends. Tell them your goals. Why, because it’s a little embarrassing when you have to start with the 101 Reasons why I didn’t….
A note about friends: seek out the friend who will call you out, question you, and stay on your case until your goal is completed. Cheerleaders are nice and all, but they don’t physically help you win the game.
Put these steps into action and you’ll be well on your way to A New Year’s Resolution That Sticks. I’d love to hear your success stories. Leave a comment below or shoot me a note on Twitter.
About Eric O’Connor
Eric wasn’t born to be a photographer. You know the kid that picks up a camera at age 5 and instantly knows he’s meant to take beautiful pictures? Who spends moody hours in a dark room (remember those?), and sees the world through the lens of his camera? Totally not him. He was the kid who began investing his money in fifth grade when he was mowing lawns and caddying. Who tormented family members because he was a morning person. And an evening person. He could not stop moving for even a minute. He was the guy who read the paper in the back of business lectures for years, and came to resent wholeheartedly the nonsense projects that gave the answers and asked no questions. He was out of place—and regularly appalled—at the spectacular waste of time that came with group projects. Discovering his love for photography wasn’t destiny as much as it was a very, very happy accident.
Eric battled and beat a life threatening disease, spoke to congress and doctors about Hepatitis C education, bought a business and married his high school sweetheart between the ages of 15 and 21. Ages 21-32 include 3 children, 12 marathons, 1 nearly fatal dance with blood clots in his legs and Pulmonary Embolisms in his lungs.
Eric O’Connor, the idea guy behind The Agile Photog, the owner of Allori Photography and the creator of mylife-pages. He lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife and 3 boys.