We all know that most New Year's resolutions are forfeited before the last of the confetti hits the floor, if not sooner. For this reason, I have long resisted the urge to make resolutions.
With that said, I still use the occasion to reflect back on the past year and look forward to the next, and I use this time to examine the reasons behind not achieving my goals from the past year. I then resolve to purge those reasons.
You might say that this is just another way to look at a resolution. Maybe -- but I see the difference in that this strategy requires one to admit first that they have faults that need purging, like the first step of the 12-step treatment for addicts. It requires true reflection upon yourself, not resolving simply to learn guitar, eat healthy or train for a half-marathon.
Below is my list of purges for 2015. I know I am not alone in many of these reflections, so feel free to adopt a few or all for yourself.
It is simple to make a list of goals you want to accomplish in the new year, but it is infinitely easier to find reasons why you will not achieve them. Lack of time, money or energy for new endeavors is nothing new to anyone. The most successful entrepreneurs have the same problems, but the difference between them and everyone else is that they look beyond excuses and find resources to fulfill their dreams.
2. Smartphone usage
Smart devices may be one of the most important inventions in human history, but they have certainly done little toward eliminating adult attention deficit disorder (AADD). News feeds, social-network updates, college football scores and countless entertainment apps (Scramble anyone?) consume a surprising amount of our precious spare time. Learn to put that device down once in a while and focus your energy on tasks meant to achieve your goals.
Cutting corners and taking shortcuts can help you get things done, but too often one shortcut leads to another, and the next thing you know you are deep into a pattern that ultimately requires more time to fix. Taking shortcuts professionally will lead to embarrassing performance. Taking shortcuts personally will lead to strained relationships and compromised health. Eliminate the inclination to take shortcuts and understand that focus, hard work and dedication are the only things that lead to success.
Even with the economy booming, entrepreneurs have plenty of distractions about which to get stressed. Unfortunately, stress and frustration only make these situations worse. It all puts strain on your colleagues, your personal relationships and most important, your health. It will drain you of the energy you need to focus on your goals. Find outlets for your stress and focus your energy on staying positive.
Entrepreneurs are by nature at the top of the totem pole. Any failing in the business, regardless of circumstance, is ultimately the responsibility of the business owner. Period. Resolve to take responsibility for your actions and those of your business. Doing so will help you instead turn your attention to what is really needed: finding solutions.
I am a fairly organized guy. At the end of the day, I like my desk and email inbox clean. Unfortunately, I still have hoarding habits, keeping everything from receipts to files to emails for years on end. This new year, I decided to eliminate or archive anything that I have not read, worn or used since 2013. This includes everything from email to clothes to files (anything I was required to keep was scanned and stored in the cloud). The purge was amazingly refreshing, and it not only cleared out my closet and computer, it cleared out my anxiety.
If you can relate to any of these necessary purges, then kudos for recognizing that you, like me, are guilty of them. That is half the battle to setting a better course. Once you understand the habits that are holding you back from your goals, you can make meaningful resolutions that you stand a much better chance of achieving.
And for what it is worth, I do have a couple of resolutions for 2015: Learn to code and training for a half-marathon. Why only a "half" marathon? Baby steps.
Do you have any other advice for the new year that you can share with other entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments section below.