Three Ways to Avoid Derailing From Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. We make these pledges with the best of intentions, but inevitably, we stray from them within just a couple of months, sometimes weeks. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, most of us can’t even remember what our resolutions were to begin with.

Creating a personalized roadmap based on your vision for your career is essential. All too often I come across clients who are chasing someone else’s ideas or vision rather than creating their own. The problem with this approach is that we don’t have real ownership over our destiny and are therefore not committed. The key is making sure that your roadmap is genuinely yours, and that it’s truly attainable. The first step is to make sure your New Year’s resolutions--whatever they may be-- are sustainable. Here are three simple ways to ensure you stick to your resolutions all year long:

Go big, just don’t go crazy. It’s good to stretch yourself and make goals that force you to go outside your comfort zone, but make sure you are realistic about them. In other words, stretch with purpose. Also, be sure to break your goals into reasonably attainable chunks (or sub goals) so that you can tackle them one at a time. Research has shown that big goals become more attainable when you break them down into bite-sized morsels. To stay on track, set weekly and monthly check-ins to evaluate your progress. It’s OK to get a little off track from time to time, just be sure not to completely derail. It’s important to have measures of success so that you know you are moving forward. Even the little wins can be motivating.

GPS it!. Don’t fall into the trap of picking a couple of lofty goals and then not planning on how to actually pull them off. It’s easy to pick goals, making them happen is another story. Every destination requires a route to get there. The route you choose is up to you, but you will need a GPS (or a map if you are old school) to guide you along the way. I believe everyone should commit to a plan and a way of checking themselves along the way. If you don’t commit to a destination and plan a path for getting there, you’ll never make it.

Hold a press conference – The best way to hold yourself accountable is to go public with your goals. Share your resolutions and your intent to keep them with family and friends.

A great example of this is when Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri used her Twitter account to share her weight loss intentions and keep her constituents abreast of her progress. Essentially, she used public accountability to hold herself to her personal weight loss goals. There is nothing like a little public pressure and fear of shame to motivate success.

When all is said and done, your goals are your own and your marks for personal success are up to you define. Create a reasonable vision that’s truly your own, draw a roadmap, and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends and family.

Get out of the Hot Seat and make it happen in 2012!

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook