By now, you’re probably sick of talking about New Year’s resolutions, so let’s fast-forward to the part where you’re already regretting setting the bar so high. Here are a few tips from the pros to help you stay positive when struggling to reach goals in 2015 (broken down by common frustrations).
For the discouraged job-hunter.
Before you start using your resume as a towel just so you can throw it in, keep in mind that the first month following the holidays is known to be slow for job placements across the board.
Andrea Berkman–Donlon of The Constant Professional says, “People are still playing catch up from the previous year. Rather than bog yourself down with sending out resumes, not hearing back right away and then getting frustrated, take this time to read up on your industry and revamp your resume and/or professional profile.”
For the compulsive list-maker.
You know who you are. You make lists of lists. Instead of getting exasperated for not ticking off line-items fast enough, try dedicating a theme to your year. This way, you don’t get hung up on small, rigid tasks.
Cha Tekeli of Chalamode, Inc., says it works.
“The year 2000 was my ‘my year of yes,’” she said. “It was honestly life-changing because I made no specific little promises of doing this or that. I asked myself each day if I was saying yes in ways I hadn’t in the past. It was effortless and worth it.”
Sarah Walton, CEO of Better Way Moms also recommends setting a 90-day limit on your goals since it’s long enough to accomplish a large project, but it keeps us from getting stuck in a “will this ever be over?” feeling.
“If you have a large career goal for the year ahead, break that down into how you want to feel at the end of March, June, September, and December. From there, figure out what would need to be accomplished in those time frames to create those feelings,” Walton says.
“This technique allows us to pick the right projects for the year ahead, because we’ve aligned our goals with how we want to feel internally, not on outside markers of success. It keeps morale much higher, and in fact I’ve seen many people actually exceed their initial goals because the experience of creating the success fuels even more success.”
For the too-cool-for-schooler.
All right, so you don’t want to admit that you’re as scared of your year’s goals as you were when your Mac fried. Eat a slice of some humble apple pie says Tim Toterhi of Plotline Leadership and embrace potential embarrassment as you stumble from task to task.
“There is a great line in the movie Serendipity where Jeremy Piven’s character praises John Cusak’s character for unabashedly going after love,” Toterhi says.
“If you want something, you have to be willing to risk spectacular failure. I’m talking an old school, Wide World of Sports ski jump accident, style failure. But here’s the thing: even Vinko Bogataj survived the fall and thrived afterwards. Better to soar for a moment than to never reach for the sky.”
For the business owner.
Rachel Maxwell, owner of biometric technology company Maxwell Biometrics Inc., puts is bluntly:
“All I can say is if you’re feeling low about goal setting than maybe you shouldn’t be a business owner. As an entrepreneur we must understand that we are climbing a mountain, and on a mountain, there are easy and hard parts to climb. “
For the inspired creator.
Ben G. Adams, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, urges us to to approach goal-setting as a creative process. “If you set a goal and don’t meet it, look for something you can learn from the experience.”
This will help you move on to another goal or redefine the original goal. “For example,” Adams explains, “maybe you will realize that you set a goal that was too self-restrictive. There’s no such thing as failure if you learned something from the experience. Then, next time around you can set a more reasonable goal, based on what you learned.”
Add these final points to your goals this year: Work on celebrating how close you come to reaching those brass rings you’ve set for yourself. Look at failure as an essential part to adjusting your strategy. Essentially, every failure means you are one step closer to success.
Photo: Cultura / Leonora Saunders / Getty Images