A brand-new year – an opportunity to start afresh; to do things differently; to do things better. It can be a really exciting time, particularly if the previous year didn’t quite go to plan. However, the initial excitement usually fades as most people ‘sink into sameness’. Same thoughts; same beliefs; same routines and habits; same frustrations. New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside and many people and organisations are destined to achieve similar, if not the same, results as the previous year’s.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are many leaders who make significant changes in how they go about things that deliver substantive results. They even work out a way to make the changes sustainable and build tremendous momentum during the year.

So how can you get the most out of 2018? How can you and your organisation avoid ‘sinking into sameness’ and be more successful than ever before?

  1. Take time to think

    Dedicated time to think is highly valuable. Why? Because good ideas are the foundation of good plans. So what should you be thinking about? Here are some questions to get you started:

    • What’s working well? Celebrate your success and acknowledge the wins.
    • What’s not working as well as you would like? What needs improving? What are the inconvenient truths? (the things swept under the carpet that really should be addressed)
    • What are the critical issues and/or changes that you would like to address this year?
    • What are the key opportunities available?
    • How can I be a better leader in the year ahead? Ask this question of those you lead for, as the common phrase goes, ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions’.
  2. Get clear on what you want

    If all 600 muscles in the human body pulled in the one direction you could lift 25 tons. How? It is focused, directed effort. A small number of meaningful goals that you can align behind is incredibly powerful. What are the critical goals you want to achieve this year? One great question to ask is: What can I/we achieve that will make this a great year? And then, importantly: Why is it important? The stronger the ‘why’, the more engaged you will be in following through.

  3. Ensure balance

    Life is very much a balancing act; the trouble is there aren’t too many trapeze artists among us. Success, both in a personal and professional sense, requires balance. Consider:

    • Short-term priorities and longer-term objectives: What is important for future success? What is important now?
    • Business goals: Marketplace; operations; people; financials – What are the right goals for the business in all these areas? Be specific.
    • Individual goals: Health, family, friends, spirituality, community, finances, learning, career, hobbies, recreation, etc. What are the right goals to drive your happiness and wellbeing?

    I have found that the most engaged leaders have alignment in three key areas: values (what matters most), goals (what you are striving to achieve) and priorities (where you spend your time, money and energy).

  4. Habit shift

    – We have thousands of habits, many of which we aren’t even aware of. Some work well for us, but many do not. Installing one good habit each month doesn’t sound like much, but it can make a huge difference to your results. What habits will you change this year to become the best version of you?

Wishing you a happy and successful year ahead.