Most people take advantage of a new year to start new things or quit things they have been doing. It isn’t that there is any special magic in the start of a new year; it’s just that by the turning of the clock from one year into the next most people believe there is a real opportunity to start again. There is a sense of being given a new slate to write on; of being able to put the previous year behind (especially if it was a difficult one) and hope for a better year. I don’t know what 2017 was like for you but if you want to be able to look back at 2018 in 12 months’ time with satisfaction that you have done better then something is going to have to change. The trouble is, most of us don’t handle change very well.

Whether we like it or not, change happens. People get older, technology evolves, society changes. But the type of change that most profits us is the change we are intentional about orchestrating, not the ones that happen to us against our will. If your business or career or personal life is going to be more successful this year than it was last year then something or things will have to change to make that happen. So my question is what will you do differently this year?

According to the December 2015 edition of the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year resolutions, and this explains why more and more people are ditching this practice. Too many years of failing at keeping their resolutions puts people off making them.

But what’s the alternative? Certainly failing to plan is a sure way of not succeeding and ending up exactly where you don’t want to be. I would like to offer you a proven alternative. I have tried it and it works. And its something you have heard before. FOCUS.

Instead of making a list of several things that you feel need changing, pick one thing that will have the most impact on your business, career or personal life. Yes ONE thing.   This ONE thing could be:

  • An activity that you will take up
  • A habit you will stop or pick up
  • A relationship you will cultivate (or end)
  • A skill you will learn
  • A hobby you will take up
  • A marketing strategy

Once you have chosen your one thing, decide on what you would like to achieve and write down the outcome you are expecting. Be as specific as you can. Then for the next 4 weeks, focus on that one thing. Give it all you have got and don’t allow yourself get distracted.   At the end of 4 weeks evaluate your progress. If you have achieved what you set out to, well done!! Pick another ONE thing. If you haven’t achieved what you set out to, then tweak a few things and keep working working at it. Don’t give up unless your one thing was the wrong choice in the first place.

I know this sounds really simple but it works. Real, sustainable change happens little by little, one thing at a time. Focus and perseverance are qualities that will help you navigate change successfully. According to Dr Jim Taylor of University of San Francisco, “focus is so important because it is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without good focus, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer. Without focus, you won’t be as effective in your work because if you’re not concentrating on the right things or are distracted, you won’t be capable of getting your work done.”

So in 2018 decide whether your story will be one of success or defeat by focussing on one thing at a time. The truth is, it’s your choice.