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January Blues to Optimistic Yellows

Welcome back! I hope you had a great Christmas and you’re raring to go. No? More roaring to stay under the duvet and go back to sleep ....... and I entirely sympathise.

The shock of coming back to work after Christmas, especially when saddled with a few well-meaning resolutions, can be tough. For some, the resolutions didn’t even get as far as 2nd January.

The author of The Art of Exceptional Living, Jim Rohn said: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

When we think of the delights (mmmm!) of January, we tend to think “back to work blues”. Hollow bank accounts. Tight waistbands and seemingly unachievable New Year resolutions often made on a whim of alcohol-fuelled confidence. What starts out as good intentions may soon lead to low self-esteem and negative thinking that simply builds metaphorical brick walls preventing the setting of goals. Why do we set ourselves up to fail?

It doesn’t have to be like this. A periodic review of how we’re doing is no bad thing and making small, determined, achievable changes can have powerful, long term effects. An initial walk for ten minutes a day can lead to running a marathon within the year.

In the work place; January can be seen as a time of many positives. A new year could mean new targets and objectives, new goals and aspirations too. Last year’s problems or difficulties are lessons helping pave the way for new successes, building intellectual and organisation muscle and helping you to avoid falling foul of the same problems in the future. Employees can pitch ideas in hope of developing their careers and extending their personal skills.

Research about New Year’s resolutions shows 52% of participants in one study were confident of success concerning their news resolutions goals, but only 12% actually attained their goals. No real surprise there. How can we motivate ourselves on this grey first day back to optimise the chances of achieving our targets? Whether your resolutions are personal or professional you’re more likely to achieve them if you take the following steps. Identify your target. Write it down.

Decide on the realistic steps you need to take to achieve it. Start with the outcome you want and when and work back from there to plan your timetable. Being realistic is key. Quick fixes are for fairy godmothers and you don’t get many of those to the pound. Planning, patience and persistence are essential to the achievement of your goals.

Take the steps you need to achieve it, bearing in mind that these will probably be baby steps to start with, changing and increasing over time.

If you take the steps and stick to them you start to form positive habits.

Build in some rewards to motivate yourself.

Celebrate successes.

Deal with falling off the wagon (whatever form that takes) by shaking yourself down and getting on again. Don’t waste time berating yourself and feeling guilty. Forget it. Move on.

Like many people I have several resolutions I want to achieve. The hardest by far will be reducing my working week to 55 hours while maintaining growth and integrity in the business. But I have started to plan for it and even though it will take some time to achieve I am determined to get there this year. This will be my marathon .......

We all want to live exceptional lives. It’s in our hands. I wish you a happy - and exceptionally successful – new year.

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