On the first work day of 2014, there is certainly no shortage of resolution lists floating around the Internet. If you’re anything like me, you probably spent some time on Tuesday night thinking about what you wanted to accomplish this year, or what you were going to change. Personally, I decided to be more assertive in all aspects of my life. Maybe you decided to be a better communicator with friends and family, or to multiply this year’s revenue by 3.
January is a great month in this respect. Resolutions are fresh in everyones minds, and the point where 3x revenue will be reached is 11 long months away and seems more attainable than ever. As the year continues, though, it’s easy to forget about these long-term goals as we begin refocusing on everyday tasks, and before we know it, it’s December again and the cycle continues.
I was going to compile a list of some great resolutions related to content and digital marketing. Then, after some thought and some inspiration from last year’s New Years post about resolving to continue learning and developing, I came up with a better idea; It’s time to rethink the way we plan our resolutions.
Typically, New Years resolutions are very results-focused, like being able to bench-press 200 pounds or run 3 miles in 20 minutes. While these are great goals, much like doubling blog traffic or creating more viral content, they are very much concerned with a desired outcome. When considering future accomplishments, the single thing that’s often overlooked is the fact that outcomes require specific actions to be taken, and taking actions requires habits to be formed.
According to a study from the University College of London, it takes 66 days on average to develop a new habit. So, the first step to rethinking New Years resolutions would be to consider the next two months. What actions will you take to develop habits that will eventually lead to the outcomes you have resolved to accomplish? For example, If I want to run 7 minute miles, I should resolve to spend the month of January running three times per week, and then the month of February running three times per week at an increased speed. Or, if I want to be producing more shareable content, I might resolve to make two pieces of lighthearted visual content each week in addition to the usual pieces I produce. This way, we can focus on actually moving towards the outcomes we want to see, instead of just talking about large, intangible goals.
After one action is performed each day for roughly two months, said action will require less and less effort and will become a part of a daily routine which will then lead to the ultimate accomplishment next December. Focusing on actions rather than outcomes can allow us to take more control over our New Years resolutions and to vastly increase the probability of being happier with ourselves at the end of 2014.
What did you resolve to accomplish this year? What actions will you resolve to take to make sure this accomplishment is achieved?