January 5, 2017
New Year, Clear Intent - 5 Steps to Help You Achieve Your Goals This Year

Like almost everyone, I celebrate the new year saying goodbye to the old, and quickly moving on to the new. On January 1, social media was filled with images of blank pages of books and inspiring pictures offering lots of encouragement to begin the year with a fresh start.  And then I started to notice that in addition to those inspiring posts, diet and gym ads were everywhere, as were prompts to learn new skills. Essentially, this initial start to the year began to look like a huge capitalistic push, rather than a hopeful start to a new year. 

Here’s the thing, though: while so many of us get excited for a new fresh start, many of us give up on that goal within days of starting. It’s not the clean start to the year that’s going to allow us to be successful this time -- it’s our mindset. In other words, if you aren’t truly committed to making a change, there’s little chance you’ll be successful in achieving it.  

This year, before tackling whatever is on your resolutions list, invest in understanding your INTENT first. Understand why this goal is important to you. Explore the meaning behind it and what led you to it. THEN commit to making progress. 

And just how do you do that?  Read on for the five steps that can help you gain better traction on your goals for this year. 

  1. UNDERSTAND THE WHY.  It’s easy to say, “I’m going to finally lose that 10 pounds this year!” or “I am going to make a huge impact and ensure I get promoted!” Far harder to accomplish it. Invest the time to truly understand the intentions behind the goal. You just might find you are choosing it for a poor reason. Alternatively, the reflection might really fire you up more to go after it!
  2. REFLECT ON YOUR BEHAVIORS. Taking the time to track how you think and act will force you to pay attention to the behaviors that have led you to your current state. Dieters often keep a food and exercise journal (e.g. WHAT?! I eat 10 pieces of pizza a week?!). In business, capturing your engagement behaviors can go a long way too. For that person who wants to get ahead, realizing they came in late twice in the past week, never spoke up in team meetings, and actively criticized others might just become aware of what’s getting in their way to success. 
  3. GET FIRED UP. Nothing like documenting your intentions and having to face them every day to hold yourself accountable. Maybe it’s a picture, an inspirational quote or fueling yourself up by listening to a theme song each morning, we are all motivated differently. Once you understand what’s driving the goal, find the mechanism that speaks best to you.  
  4. CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK. Chances are, you’ve gone after these goals before.  If you were unsuccessful, reflect on steps 1 through 3 to determine why. And then dust yourself off, recommit, and try again. Understanding your intent is just the beginning. It’s likely you’ll stumble along the way. That’s ok.  It’s part of the process…and sure will make a successful outcome that much sweeter.  
  5. MAKE IT HAPPEN. You’ve now got your goals, your intent behind them, and motivation to make them happen. Take small, incremental, measurable steps to help drive the goal to reality. Celebrate the wins, learn from the mis-steps.  You’ll be amazed at the progress you make. Don’t expect everything to change or happen overnight. 

Make this the year you actually accomplish what you commit to changing on January 1.  By beginning with understanding what’s driving the goals in the first place, you might just find yourself successful by year end.  #makeithappen

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator