Happy New Year from District 4 Toastmasters!
We’re conditioned to think of the beginning of the year as a time to set personal development #goals. Not surprisingly, the month of January is prime time for new members to join Toastmasters. (I am on trend; I officially became a member in January 2011!)
Whether you are new to Toastmasters or not, there’s never a wrong time to reflect on goals for yourself and your club. The program offers you unlimited opportunities to work on communication and leadership skills. Will you make a Toastmasters-related resolution in 2017?
Statistics show that while setting resolutions is a popular New Year’s pastime, a majority of resolvers fail to follow through. Want to avoid this fate? Read on for four tactics you can use to improve the odds that your resolution will last through 2017 and beyond!
1. Be specific.
Have you heard of SMART Goals? Apply the same principles to your resolution. Let’s say your goal is to improve as a speaker. What does that mean to you, and how will you measure your progress? Maybe it means reducing your filler words, adding more humor to your presentations, participating in a contest, or completing an educational award. Identify specific milestones that will show you’re gaining ground.
2. Be curious.
Ask yourself why you want to accomplish your goal. Think about the deeper reasons behind your objective. For example, improving as a speaker can build self-confidence, strengthen interpersonal relationships and open up new career opportunities. Reminding yourself of these reasons can help you stay motivated and committed as time goes on.
3. Be accountable.
We all need someone to check up on us from time to time. Once you’ve set your goal and identified the reason behind it, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with people who will support you, applaud you and keep you on track. In Toastmasters, we thrive on third-party feedback to help us grow and develop. Seek an outside perspective on your resolution journey to ensure you are still making meaningful progress. Additionally, your goal may evolve over time, and that’s OK, too! Discussing the situation with a mentor or trusted supporter can help you recalibrate and refocus.
4. Be patient!
Change takes time. If you think about your resolution as one giant goal, it may intimidate you and overwhelm your resolve. Break it down into baby steps that you can work on once a day or a few times a week. You’ll be surprised how far these small steps can carry you!
If you haven’t yet set any personal goals this year, no need to wait until 2018… January 1 is only an arbitrary deadline. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of the year!