The decorations are put away, the last of the cookies have been eaten, and all of those turkey leftovers are finally gone. Now that the halls have been un-decked, it’s time to start thinking about your goals and resolutions for the new year. Whether you’re looking to improve aspects of your personal or professional life, the right approach to sticking to your resolutions can make a world of difference.
If you don’t want to join the 80% of people who abandon their New Year’s resolutions by the end of the following year, try using one of the project management tools you already know and love.
Continue reading to discover:
- How popular PM tools can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions
- Tips and tricks for sticking to your goals overall
- How to avoid classic resolution killers
Whether you’ve got a specific resolution in mind or are still trying to decide between your top areas of improvement, here are some overall tips and best practices to help you on your goal-achieving journey.
Start by picking your tool of choice
Regardless of what your goals are, there are countless ways PM tools can help you achieve them before the year is over. While they can’t run that marathon for you or help you cut back on Netflix binges, here are just a few examples of ways different tools will improve your probability of success.
With a feature literally named “Goals”, Asana makes it easy to create and track your New Year’s resolutions. This feature lets you add new goals, add team members to the goal if required, add due dates (great for accountability), as well as add sub-goals. As you complete your goal, you’ll be shown a satisfying progress bar displaying the percentage you’ve achieved. For example, perhaps one of your professional New Year’s resolutions is to finally organize your team’s shared files. You could input this as your key goal, and then add your team members for visibility and sub-goals like “Complete initial file audit”.
Wrike’s dynamic set of features means there are numerous ways this tool can help you stick to your resolutions. For example, one easy way to incorporate your goals into your current workflow is to create Wrike tasks for each resolution. Here, you can add as much or as little detail to your task, add due dates, and create additional subtasks to help keep you on track. This lets you monitor your progress, mark off any goals you’ve achieved, and it increases visibility as you’ll see your resolution task anytime you open Wrike (which could be multiple times per day).
Wrike can also offer the perfect solution if one of your resolutions is to communicate better. With transparency across team members workloads, dedicated space for comments and questions, as well as shared calendars, Wrike empowers users to easily improve communication and the sharing of information across channels. And with a number of integrations with other tools, there’s no limit to your communication (and resolution) success.
As their website explains, “Trello is a great way to organize all of your New Year’s resolutions and goals by identifying the tasks and steps required to achieve success and setting them into an actionable plan.”
Using one of their pre-built templates, you can use Trello to help you stick to any of your New Year’s resolutions. Each “goal” card in your Trello “Resolutions” list will contain a checklist outlining each step you need to take to achieve your specific goal, along with the integrated “Calendar Power-up.”
The best part? Trello lets you move the card to your “Done” list once you feel you’ve stuck to your resolution. If you love crossing items off of your to-do list, this feature is for you.
We could go on and on about the ways different PM tools can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions, but our best advice would be to think creatively. Consider the ways you currently use some of your favorite digital tools and brainstorm how their features can be adapted to keep you on the right track, resolution wise.
Break down the resolution
If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘eating the elephant’, you’ll understand this tip. Looking at a resolution that you haven’t started yet can be overwhelming, especially if it’s something you know is going to be difficult.
Instead of looking at the resolution as one giant scary mountain, break it down into smaller, manageable pieces. Rather than writing down your resolution and thinking of it as a single entity, look at it as a combination of steps and parts.
For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to read ten career-related books by the end of the year, imagining these ten books stacked on top of each other is sure to make you dread the task. Instead, break your goal down into achievable steps. The first step could be to find the first book on your list, while the second step could be to read the first chapter by the end of the week (and so on). See how this ambitious initial resolution seems so much more achievable when you think of it as a chapter-by-chapter process? Try it with any of your resolutions to be pleasantly surprised — and to stay motivated.
How does this work in a project management tool? Simple. Once you’ve broken your resolution down into smaller, achievable steps, you can create a task for each one, and visually track completion throughout the year. You could even break down each task into checklists with Trello’s templates.
When you don’t have a way to track your goals, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself three months into a new year with no progress made towards your resolutions. Create milestones so that you’re able to definitively monitor and watch as you slowly (or quickly) achieve the goals you identified on January 1st.
Write down these milestones somewhere you’ll see them (such as in one of the PM tools mentioned above) and continue to check-in on your development. Don’t get sidetracked or defeated if you aren’t able to hit every one of your milestones, but instead pay attention to anything that hinders your progress or blocks your success.
Some project management tools even have features specifically designed to track milestones. Asana has a feature for this literally called Milestones.
Making a New Year’s resolution or two is great, but without accountability there’s a good chance your efforts will drop off somewhere around Valentine’s Day. It’s always easier when the only person you’re letting down is yourself, which is why it’s important to enlist the support of someone else to keep you accountable.
Perhaps you have a friend or family member also embarking on a similar resolution who could offer some mutually beneficial support. Or, if this is your style, you could also consider publicly declaring your resolution on your social media account and providing quick updates for your followers along the way. This is something that has definitely worked for certain people, but we understand it’s not for everyone.
Otherwise, you can use your project management tool of choice to make your goals visible to someone else. Invite an accountability partner into your tool, and they can watch your progress. If you slip up on a milestone, they then know they should nudge you to keep you on track.
Try Habit Stacking
A key component of sticking to your resolutions is building better habits. One way of increasing your chances of success with this is with an approach called habit stacking.
Habit stacking involves latching a new habit onto an existing habit, instead of building it in isolation. For example, if you’re trying to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, you might want to ‘stack’ this new habit onto a current one such as your morning cup of tea. Once you start incorporating a mini meditation into your day right after your morning cup of tea, this practice will become second nature. After you take the last sip of your tea each morning, your brain will already be expecting that the next thing you’ll be doing is your meditation.
As your current habits are already built into your brain, adding on your new habits to this existing neurological cycle makes it that much more likely that you’ll be able to stay consistent — and achieve your goals.
This year, I will…
While our yearly practice of setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions can often result in disappointment, the right approach and some small tweaks to your previous methods can have a major impact on your chances of success. By choosing a project management tool to manage your new year’s resolution, you can break down your resolution into smaller, achievable steps, set milestones, and get an accountability partner.