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Make It Happen Tipsheet
Career Management and Life Balance

Summer Resolutions

We've all heard about New Year's resolutions, but how about Summer Resolutions? Or, for that matter, First-of-the-month Resolutions, Monday resolutions, or 9am resolutions? While some of these may sound absurd, there is actually something that can be learned from them.

For most people, New Year's resolutions have two things in common: they are made with the greatest of intentions, and there is rarely any follow through. It doesn't take many years before we give up making them completely, or just say that we "should" do something, but never actually do it.

At the other end of the spectrum, many people have no problem writing a to-do list each morning, and striking off each item as it is completed. Why is it that that we can do these to-do lists - our 9am resolutions - with ease, yet when it comes to New Year's resolutions, we so often fail? For us to successfully complete any task, five things must be true:

  • We must have a plan to attain the goal or complete the task
  • There must be immediate gratification for success, or immediate consequences for failure.
  • It must be more important than other activities vying for our attention
  • The risk of failure must be less than the consequences of failure
  • We have to have the time to actually complete it.

Our 9am resolutions are simple, and they easily pass these criteria - but do our New Year's ones? Think back to the last time that you made a resolution; can you chunk it down to components that would pass these criteria? If it doesn't pass one or two, there are some things that you can do to help, including asking a colleague for planning help, giving yourself a reward upon completion, etc.

This week's action plan: Most people already feel comfortable with daily to-do lists. This coming monday, make a "Monday Resolution": something that you commit to do during that week that is "bigger" than your daily to-do list. Once you're comfortable with Monday Resolutions, then you can graduate to First-of-the-Month resolutions. We can leave Summer Resolutions 'til later - and New Year's Resolutions to... the new year.

Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.

Publication Date: June 27, 2006

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