New Years Resolutions - How To Plan for a Successful 2019

The first of January is here, the season of New Years resolutions has begun, and many of us are setting goals for lifestyle and professional improvements. The start of a New Year is the perfect time to define your targets and aims for the next 12 months, however, even with the best intentions most resolutions are broken before we even reach the end of January.

To help avoid this pitfall, why not look at your aims for the year in detail, and consider using more defined targets and plans to increase your chances of success. This article aims to suggest a couple of approaches you could use to stay on track and make 2019 your most successful, productive and fulfilling year to date.

For substantial goals you can increase your chance of being successful by setting multiple smaller targets which build towards the completion of your longer term aim. Breaking down your project into smaller tasks creates a target which is more manageable, and it ultimately helps build up momentum as you tick off completed tasks.

For example, if your overall aim is to release an album of original music, shorter term targets may include; the composition of X tracks each month, the creation of artwork, deciding on a track-listing, booking rehearsal and studio time and ordering equipment for sessions. These areas can be broken down even further, for example, smaller tasks regarding the creation of artwork could be; research existing artwork, choose font, define colour scheme, arrange a photoshoot and confirm technical specifications.

For 2019 I have identified both my professional and personal aims for 12 months, then used these to define aims and plan for the first 3 months of the year. I will review this on a weekly basis and as the end of quarter 1 approaches I will repeat the process for quarter 2. Working in shorter periods of time allows for flexibility, reflection and evaluation.

When setting you aims you could also try incorporating the SMART targets method as defined below:

Specific: Make sure your target is defined and precise so you know exactly what you are aiming to achieve. Avoid vague goals which could be interpreted in a number of different ways.

Measurable: How will you define when you have achieved your target? Using dates, times and numbers is a good way to measure success.

Attainable: Create goals which are realistic and attainable to keep you motivated. Do however avoid setting yourself tasks which are too simple which don’t challenge you.

Relevant: Ask yourself is this task essential to the successful completion of your overall project? Cutting out unnecessary tasks saves time and increases productivity.

Time-bound: Setting a deadline can be a huge motivator and creates accountability. It is important to be realistic with this and potentially add a degree of flexibility.

As a freelancer I have found that by spending time on the planning process and evaluating my goals regularly that I work more efficiently, remain focussed on the next stage, make better use of my time, and ultimately increase my productivity. Happy New Year and I wish you a successful 2019.