This year I have made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions. I am so relieved!


It is going to mean that I can just concentrate on planning what I need to achieve this year in order to enhance my ability to reach more people with my message and grow my business. It means I won’t have to start the year with unrealistic, self-inflicted pressure and expectations followed by a slide down the slippery slope of disappointment. It means I won’t have to start beating myself up from the word go.


Just so that there is no misunderstanding here, I am not advocating simply repeating last year without making any improvements or changes. That would not be an acceptable way forward as we must all continue to evolve as professionals. As always, I will decide on any required changes after careful analysis of the results of what I did and how I worked last year. We all know that it would be preferable to be treated by a surgeon who has the latest techniques at his command rather than one who qualified 20 years ago and hadn’t read any journals or attended any refresher courses since then. Being stale is, in every sense, as bad as being uninformed.


Sensible and realistic business and personal achievement planning is a significantly important activity for all of us to put in our annual calendars and highly recommended for all who value their contribution to their workplaces and, of course, their own achievements. However, I also know through bitter experience that making arbitrary decisions at a time of the year when our brains and our bodies are crying out for a fair amount of TLC is a recipe for failure. I would much, much rather build my year as it reveals itself, making informed decisions as I go. The only exceptions would, of course, be the need to make those changes which could have major health benefits and require some dedication of purpose to make improvements – amending dietary intake, enhancing exercise, limiting stress factors, are ones which come immediately to mind.


Most of us will have been able to find a few hours over the holiday break to consider and ask ourselves the question: “What’s next?” and an honest audit of our current skills and competences is probably our top response. You may find, however, that there is no current need for radical change. Some small, incremental improvements may be all that is needed to move forward. In my case it is undoubtedly going to be a year during which I have to beef up my understanding and use of social media for different projects and products. I know it won’t be easy to make sense of it in anything other than small bites. So I am happy to say that I will be taking on new skills for specific reasons, not just because a new piece of software has become fashionable or is flavour of the minute.


I have discovered over a period of years that when I attempt things that don’t come easily – and social media certainly fits that category – it is far better to take it slowly. I will probably make small mistakes but I have learned that in my particular case that is preferable to trying to conquer both my fear of the new as well as something technically alien in one large bite. The result in the past has often been a feeling that I have created an overload and that becomes a burden which, in turn, hampers me to the point of inaction. Not a good place to be.


So I am happy to continue to excel at what I am good at and take my time in acquiring new skills and conquering the alien mountain, slowly adding them to my repertoire until it feels comfortable. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a lifelong activity and should be a comfortable fellow traveller on your journey rather than another one of those alien mountains to be overcome.


The New Year always brings with it enormous expectations and possibilities but it can be very fruitful if you allow yourself to take it slowly.


QUOTES for sidebar if you have the space:


With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.

Chinese Proverb


Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

– Unknown


If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.

– Coleman Hawking

Susie Kay is Founder of The Professionalism Group, an advice and consultancy organisation working with individuals, students, businesses and professional institutes, focusing on the benefits of professionalism. She is a speaker and writer and is happy to ... (Read More)

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