How to Set New Year’s Resolutions in an HR Role

It’s that time of year – your Facebook feed is starting to fill up with people talking about the New Year’s resolutions they’re going to crush this year. The age-old question remains: how long will they last? Gym memberships spike in January and start to fall off in February and March. Too often, we set goals that sound great and admirable, but they are so lofty and undefined that we look back a month later and say, “I’m not even close, so I’m giving up.” Here are five tips for setting New Year’s resolutions in an HR role without setting yourself up for frustration.

Make your goals fix something

First and foremost: resolutions have to be relevant. They have to fix something. Setting vague goals is a surefire way to be frustrated in February. If your resolution is to “exercise more,” you haven’t given yourself a clear way to measure your progress down the road. Broad, undefined goals are fleeting, changing like emotions. If your resolution is to learn a new skill, break that down into tasks, like completing a class and reading a certain number of articles and books on the subject. Create a step-by-step process for each accomplishment you want to achieve. When you reflect back in a couple months, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment that you are proactively completing actions that are bringing you closer to your goal.

Get on the same page with leadership for your goals

You have HR initiatives that you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t get input and support from leadership, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Communicate the initiatives you want to get done in the next year and the actions that need to happen to achieve those initiatives. Make sure you’ve done all the critical thinking and have an action plan created before your meeting with leadership.

Make your goals project-based

Re-writing your handbook is a project, not a goal. The goal in handbook revision is to give all your employees a clear definition of company policy and make the workplace better for them. Improving the workplace is a company-wide goal, so giving that entire responsibility to yourself will lead to frustration. When you treat handbook revision as a project, you will be able to think through the action items that need to be completed.

Separate day-to-day operational goals from future operational goals.

Think of two separate buckets: one for goals that deal with day-to-day tasks and one for goals that can be achieved months from now. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day operations and not see six months down the road. If you get lost in the woods, you have to climb a tree to get above the noise and see where you need to go. In the same way, look ahead to what you want to get done over the next few months. Otherwise, you’ll get bogged down and frustrated in day-to-day tasks.

Don’t forget to include accountability and rewards

Finally, talk to a coworker about keeping each other accountable for your new year goals. Not only will you have someone to keep you on pace, you’ll be able to specifically encourage each other as you make progress. Set rewards for yourself as you complete actions on your list. Don’t wait for the three month mark before treating yourself. Give yourself credit for every bit of progress you make. Perfection is unattainable, but progress calls for celebration. And if it’s your thing, join everyone else on Facebook to brag about crushing your resolutions.

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