Legend has it that the custom of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to the time of Julius Caesar and that they were embraced with the intention of learning to treat others with greater kindness. With the passage of centuries, however, the January 1st tradition segued into self-serving quests, the majority of which involve losing weight, achieving health, shedding addictions, acquiring wealth, and moving up the corporate ladder. Not surprisingly, the ongoing gloom of a wobbly economy is prompting many a wisher to add “become my own boss” to the list of New Year’s goals. Maybe you’re one of the 40% of Americans who annually stride with gusto into a bold journey of adventure and reinvention, only to lose steam by mid-February because results aren’t as immediately forthcoming as you had hoped they’d be six weeks previous.
So what, exactly, is it that distinguishes the scant 8% who stay the course and see their resolutions not only take root but magnificently blossom?
The difference is that they actually make A Plan.
“If you don’t have time to do it right,” wrote American basketball coach John Wooden, “when will you have time to do it over?” His popular quote about how to play – and win – a game has as much application to building a company as it does to building lasting relationships. Much too often the mindset of Instant Now causes people to rush headlong into promises, start-ups and even matrimony without considering Strengths, Weaknesses, Energy, Access and Time. If you like acronyms, it’s all about SWEAT.
The author wannabe who thinks that (1) publishing is glamorous and (2) s/he only has to write one book in order to retire is little different from the person who assumes that just because she likes to bake cupcakes (but has absolutely no marketing background or business management experience), customers will flock to her door from the very first day. Likewise, the woman – or man – whose biological clock is ticking will more likely skip the friendship and courtship stage because racing to the altar takes precedence over considering what a successful marriage really entails. By only focusing on an end result instead of taking the time to create realistic, incremental steps and accessing the tools and resources necessary to reach that goal, failure is inevitable.
Every reward – and every resolution – carries its own share of risks. You have the power to mitigate those risks, however, by clearly defining what it is you want (and whether it’s feasible), what it means to you, what sacrifices you’re prepared to make, and whether you honestly have the passion and perseverance to go the full distance.
Want to share your 2014 goals and game plans with Media Magnetism readers? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to participate. As this new year unfolds, we’ll be publishing the best entries.
Meanwhile, here’s this month’s exciting line-up of guest blogs:
The Dr. Jekylls and Mr. Hydes of Business Leadership – by Leanne Hoagland-Smith
8 Pointers for Keeping Your Blog Fresh and Growing – by John Terra
What is Advocacy PR? – by Mickie E. Kennedy
5 Tips For Making Your First Interview Experience A Painless One – By Tony Wilkins
Here’s to a stellar 2014. Make it a great one!