It’s taken me 43 years, but I finally cracked the code on keeping New Year’s resolutions. See if my approach can likewise help you branch beyond diets that disappear in February and gym memberships that go unused.
In 2015, I resolved to send you an email every Thursday. Did it.
And I did it again last year – this is the 105th Thursday in a row I’ve emailed you (with the exception of a very significant event two months ago that justified moving it up to a Wednesday).
At the beginning of 2016, I resolved to finally get a huge monkey off my back. I’d been teaching my daylong boot camp on pitching media for more than 10 years. And about half that time I’d been “wanting” or “hoping” to package it into an online format so that more people could access it more conveniently and reap the results that so many had already achieved.
But two things don’t mix well:
– Being a perfectionist about how I present content
– And the natural limitations on technology in reproducing the experience I love about connecting with a live audience
So I’d take some steps forward, get frustrated, and then allow other priorities to take over. Not to mention it was straight-up hard mental exertion, and I’m as lazy as the next guy.
What I learned about myself
Turns out I’d become quite good at keeping commitments and meeting deadlines WHEN PEOPLE ARE WATCHING. Like, when I book a speaking engagement, I know there will be a bunch of people there expecting a great speech, and a meeting planner who deserves to look good for booking me. So I push through obstacles and procrastination and deliver.
But my weakness was in following through on resolutions where I was the only one who knew “what could be.” Nobody was asking me to write an email every month. And, last January, I had no client expecting me to deliver an online training course on media pitching.
So in each of the last two years, I picked the ONE thing that nobody knew about that would allow me to deliver the most value to the most people. I focused all my willpower on that one internal promise I made only to myself. Knowing that my inherent “people-pleaser” personality gravitated to naturally accomplishing all the external commitments I’d make throughout the year.
The result for last year? Focusing on all the people who (unknowingly) would benefit from my labor fueled the fire. Once that course was finished and launched, it immediately tripled the number of PR people who have access to the resource they need to skyrocket their media pitching results (I got emails over the holiday sharing placements in the WSJ and NYT – congrats Mitch and Giovanna!). And then they enjoy the fruits of that success, like earning raises, promotions and, more significantly, more independence to choose time with those who matter most to them.
Sitting here writing this now, it’s so exhilarating. Makes it that much easier to resolve my one thing for the new year that will deliver the most value to the most people (check back on the first Thursday of 2018 to find out ☺).
Ignore the stuff that other people already want you to do. What your boss expects, or people close to you. Pick the one thing that will most accelerate your ability to deliver the most value to the most people.
Take the focus off yourself and put it on those people you’re striving to serve (coworkers? journalists? family?) and it will happen. And then you can spend 2018 watching all those people benefit from the value you created for them 🙂
P.S. If your resolution involves getting better at your job – and impact on your freedom and financial security that goes along with that – consider the Crafting the Perfect Pitch online course to help you get there.
It’s taken me 43 years, but I finally cracked the code on keeping New Year’s resolutions.