I stopped creating new year’s resolutions when I was 24. They didn’t work for me.
I was enjoying a New Year’s Eve celebration with fellow college graduates, early into our careers. As everyone shared their resolution, I realized mine would be the same as last year. Why was that?
The goal I had set last year was hard, but I went hard after it. I expected to see some change, some progress, but by January 10th, I felt no progress. It was frustrating and defeating to fail so quickly. I gave up. So, I did not set a resolution at all this time. In hindsight, that wasn’t the right answer either.
My goal, like many, was to lose weight. Ironically, the year I stopped making that resolution was the year I started running. I was traveling globally for my job, and I had resolved to see as much of each city on foot as possible. Long walks reaped treasures of experiences. Eventually I started jogging so I could see more of each city. The feeling I got from that was so good, I wanted more. Over time, I worked up to running over 5 miles to explore the city. Ironically, focusing on progress over perfection and enjoying the process, I eventually lost the weight.
I picked up the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, over this past holiday. The book is powerful, and it outlines very well what I experienced that year. James Clear encourages you to make small adjustments, a 1% improvement. If you continue improving by 1% over time, the feeling you get from that progress creates a system that is sustainable. No longer did I need a “resolution” because it wasn’t about completing a goal and being done with it. Instead, I changed my entire approach to my health. This happened not because I set a goal, but because I decided what I wanted to be. The path to get there is not a linear progression. It will have wins, set-backs, ups and downs, but as long as the “to be” vision is in front of you, then the rest is just the journey. Over time, I created my system of being a healthy person and that “to be” vision has sustained my routines (with wins and set-backs) for more than 40 years. What seemed like an impossible goal became a lifestyle with incremental changes to my systems.
In Q4, most of us are busy working the next year’s budget, revenue targets, and 3-year or 5-year goal setting. This is an essential business process. When companies can articulate the vision, people can create the systems needed to get there. Signature Leaders goes through this process as well. Our mission is what drives us. The more female leaders we can help accelerate to reach their potential, the greater the reward is for our team and our company. I believe that focusing on the vision allows our team to work through the challenges and pivots required in today’s environment. This has been the success of Signature Leaders growth.
With that growth comes increased demand on our people and the systems that have helped us to be successful so far. At the start of each year, our goals, and the changes needed to meet them, feel like a huge stretch. One thing I like to remember and remind us of, is people tend to overestimate what they can achieve in a day and underestimate what they can achieve in a year.
As you move into and through 2022, determine your “to be” vision. By putting faith in the long game, you’ll know the journey will have its wins, mistakes, and course corrections. It will not be linear advancement. Even if it doesn’t feel like you are making enough progress today, remember to prioritize progress over perfection. Consistent 1% improvements throughout the year will create significant positive change. There will be many gains and “feel-good moments”. If you can start with a clear “to be” vision, then choosing to stretch yourself and achieve your potential is a wonderful journey to be on.