I have always loved New Year’s and the promise, excitement and possibilities that a new year brings.
It’s a time when you can reinvent yourself, decide who you want to be and what you would like to accomplish. I always get that excited feeling this will be the year that I accomplish all my goals and make things happen.
This year I will be patient! This year I will finish that book I have been working on! This year I will be in better shape than last year! This year I will land that gigantic account! This year I will be the perfect husband and father!
Nothing like setting my sites too high, don’t you think?
One day when working with one of my employees, I asked her what goals she had set for the next year. She triumphantly responded, “I set three goals per year and I have been perfect in keeping each year’s resolutions for the last five years.”
I was impressed by that accomplishment and couldn’t wait for her to let me in on the holy grail of goal attainment and share her wisdom. I had never heard of anyone who had been so good at keeping their resolutions. She shared one of her last year’s goals with me: “I wear my seatbelt every time I am in my car and I kept that resolution with perfection this year.”
We both burst out laughing at the simplicity of her goal, but her comment and success started a change in how I view my own goals and New Year’s resolutions. As I have worked with individuals and corporations on job meaning, fulfillment and leadership development, I have learned what types of goals and resolutions can be most meaningful and effective in our lives.
It is those goals which lead to increased happiness and fulfillment in our career and lives. Who doesn’t want to be happy in 2013?
My focus in my younger years was on the extrinsic (operating from the outside) type of goals.
I wanted to make more money, get a promotion, write the book, move to that great neighborhood, get that new car and be in phenomenal shape. All the goals were focused on the outward me, the want-to-have-more, be more and do more, more, more and more! (I get exhausted just thinking about it). But I have learned that these types of goals caused me to compare myself to others and see where they were succeeding and where I was failing. I made myself miserable because I felt I was never measuring up or accomplishing what I should be at my age. The pitfall of social comparison is an easy one to fall into.
Just hop on Facebook and see how many individuals portray themselves.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still have lots of goals that I want to accomplish, but I approach these resolutions in a whole new way. I have learned to focus on goals that will make my life happier and more fulfilled than last year.
I now focus on intrinsic (essential to one’s self; can’t be taken away) goals; goals that will make me a better person than I was last year; goals that will enable me to accomplish the important things of my life. Let me share a few:
• I want to have better relationships with my wife, kids, family and neighbors.
• I want to grow into a better human and be the best person I can be - not so I can impress others, but so I can make a larger contribution to my family, my neighborhood and my community.
• I want to have more experiences and fewer things. Experiences can never be taken away and they change who I am and how I see the world. They make my life bigger.
These are the types of goals that bring happiness and fulfillment and, surprisingly, the extrinsic goals will usually follow.
If you are the best person you can be at work and you seek to bring value wherever you go, you will be happy. Decide to learn more about your career and become an expert in your chosen field.
Why? Because scientists have shown that success most often follows happiness. We often think that more money, a better title, a nicer house and a better vacation will bring us more happiness and fulfillment, but it doesn’t. It is contributing more, creating value wherever you go and building connections and friendships.
This year reevaluate your New Year’s resolutions and make sure you have the goal of being happy and having a fulfilled year, and success will surely follow in 2013. It’s been proven! Remember it’s your (life) and career.
Dr. CK Bray is a career and organizational development expert who has worked with numerous organizations, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging start-ups. He can be reached at ck@DrCKBray.com or find his blog and more at www.DrCKBray.com.