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Ever set new years resolutions, only to have them go no where? With 2020 now behind us, and the green shoots of 2021 upon us, it's a great time to reflect on those few things that we wanted to change this year.

2021 is certainly the year to focus on making good things happen after recovering from a challenging 2020. Whether if it is to  take up a new hobby, get healthier, lose some weight, improve your business capability or just create better habits that will contribute to your personal development. Here are some recommendations that can help you stick to your resolutions.

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1: Have a positive mindset from the beginning

One thing that 2020 taught us is that negative thoughts of the future are generally worse than the reality. If you remember how bleak everything was in April 2020, we were supposed to finish the year with 9% unemployment and an economy on its knees.

Yet the government stimulus and other measures created quite a different situation where we ended the year with unemployment at 6.6% and many businesses struggling to find staff. 2021 is expected to be a great year business wise as the world gets on top of the virus with vaccines and herd immunity.  

Try and ensure that you have a vision or overall goals of where you want to get to at the end of the year. You will find this vision will create momentum and give you a positive focus. You can’t change the past, only create the future so focus your energies on moving forward.

2: Connect and reconnect with those around you

Get in touch with those who want to achieve the same goals or who already have. Recognise and use your network or develop one. Over many years we've seen an example of the power of a network on the owner manager program and how it makes owners accountable to achieve.

For example, if you want to get back into an old sport, what better way to start than to reconnect with those who are in that sport already. Use your existing network or reach out to new ones that can ignite your passion and help motivate you.

Are you interested in a new course and know someone who has completed it for more information? Do you want to eat healthier and have a friend that is on a health kick? You get the idea.

3: Think Open

Open goals are a new approach in contrast to the SMART goal methodology. Open goals are personal, non-specific and exploratory, often an opportunity to see how well and how much you can achieve by recognising and exploring your capabilities, rather than having a specific target. It focuses on your starting point and individual performance.

Rather than comparing against where you should be, you’re constantly building on your starting point so that you are consistently improving and trying to exceed your personal best. This approach makes the process much more positive, creating the right mindset to continue what we are doing - the more positive we feel when pursuing a goal, the more we’ll want to repeat it.

To set your own open goals, think about what you want to improve (for example “quit smoking”). Then identify what you want to measure, such as reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day or week. Then ensure that your goal is a personal and non-specific target such as “I want to see how many cigarettes I can reduce smoking this week.”

Once you have recognised your open goals, you’re ready to start. With the open goal method, you’re more likely to see improvements and enjoy the experience so it becomes part of your daily routine, which means you are more likely to stick to it. Google it, it's quite an interesting paradigm shift. 

4: Track and record your progress

Find a way to track steps towards the larger goal and record those steps on a regular basis. Bite size accomplishments add up to big accomplishments and often have a more valuable impact in the continuation of achieving your goals.

If a monthly or quarterly revenue target is your goal, find a way to track this daily or weekly to ensure you are on target, or identify whether you are behind so you can ensure everything is back on track sooner than later.

5: Celebrate the steps you have achieved towards your final goals

The key to success is realising that our big goals and plans are not going to happen overnight, in the next week or maybe even the next year but this is okay. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us to that goal.

A key part of change management research is to acknowledge and celebrate small wins to keep us motivated and on the right path. Sometimes it seems like the goals we set are still so far away when it could be just around the corner – something we will never know if we give up.

Celebrating these small wins makes us feel good and helps us keep progressing.