Project Management

New Year Goals: 2023 Edition

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If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’ll remember that I’m not much into New Year’s Resolutions because they always seem hard to keep. It’s difficult to make new habits and stick to them.

It’s easier – I think – to try to refocus on the core competencies and behaviours that I know make a difference but because of one thing or another tend to have fallen by the wayside as we get busier.

For example, Quarter 4, the September to December period is always busy for me. Partly it’s because of family commitments: birthdays, school holidays, endless school-related events and things to remember, and of course the run up to the end of year holiday season. But it’s also because it’s financial year end, strategic planning for the next year and project review time.

I’ve just filled out the 2023 annual family planner with the key dates for the year and hung it in the kitchen. It always surprises me that the gap between December and January is literally going to bed and waking up and it being a whole new year. But the effort we put into prep – like getting a new calendar and forecasting forward – feels heavy. Why don’t we plan on a rolling cycle? Why do we get to December and think, “I’ll deal with that next year”? Next year is just a couple of weeks away. If the decision had to be made in April, you wouldn’t think, “I’ll deal with that in May.” You’d just do it.

So my objectives for the coming 12 months are simple, and things I have focused on in the past. There are no shortcuts in project management but there are definitely things we can do to help edge closer to successful results.

I’m going to work on the following.

Learning. On reflection, I’ve had a couple of years where I haven’t developed my skills in project management. I’ve been busy doing and teaching, but not learning. I think I need to find events and conferences to attend that are stretching and that will meet me where I am. In the past, I’ve ducked out of attending events because I didn’t think I’d learn anything new. That’s probably wrong: even a refresh of comfortable skills is worth doing. But I’d like to attend events that cover the topics for mid-career professionals, where I can come away with genuinely new ideas and having been inspired. If you know of any, let me know!

Setting my future self up for success. In the rush, I have found myself this year making brief notes on a process or doing something without documenting it. Then I’ve come to do it again and had to start it from scratch. I need to build in time to make life easier for my future self because I’ve done it right the first time. Proper notes, documented assumptions, records of what is included in financial reports (project monthly summary slide deck: I’m looking at you) so I can easily replicate the numbers and justify them.

And that’s enough. The idea of having too many things to focus on for the coming year is overwhelming. It’s enough to have one goal, or two. Or none. We’re all getting through the days the best we can, trying to get our work done, manage our relationships, support friends and family and get everyone fed and into bed at the end of every day.

Are you going to make ‘professional’ resolutions? Or is this really now a thing of the past as our ways of identifying self-development opportunities have moved far beyond needing the scaffolding of a new year to set goals?

And if you are going to make them, how do you decide on what’s enough for you? I’m genuinely interested in how you approach going into a new calendar year. Let me know in the comments!

new year resolutions

Posted on: January 03, 2023 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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I try to make daily resolutions, rather than yearly. They are much easier to accomplish.

Dear Elizabeth
Very interesting the theme that brought to our reflection and for debate
Thanks for sharing and for the painting: "This year I will"
The best way to learn is by teaching... the important thing is that, when teaching, you try new approaches and/or new contents (in other words, don't forget about continuous improvement and innovation)

We need to be careful... much of what is written or said is rubbish in many domains :-). We end up wasting time paying attention to what does not add value

When we plan our year it is convenient to do it in the 4 domains of being: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual

@Stephane, that's a good way of doing things, for 'daily' activities, but how does that work with sustaining a habit? Are the resolutions the same each day, so it's kind of reaffirming your commitment to the action?

@Luis, thinking about things in those 4 domains is very powerful, thank you for sharing.

That’s exactly it, Elizabeth

That’s exactly it, Elizabeth

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