Forget resolutions - get objective!

When it comes to setting achievable objectives, Suzanne Wheatley argues 'balance' is the watchword for 2012.

Setting KPIs for 2012

I don't do New Year's resolutions. The word 'resolution' is too laden with pressure and the inevitable hint of failure. Because resolutions tend to be doing more of something or consuming less of something else, I feel it's like a teacher writing 'see me' on my school book.  This year, this Olympic year, I will be setting objectives, not resolutions.  My very own personal KPIs, if you will. 

Personal and professional objectives

So far on my list is my intention to finally learn how to serve in tennis and I have sort of committed to running another marathon. The advantage of setting objectives is, for me, a mental one. I can research my options and make a plan, taking my time to ensure that I don't rush in to anything.

The list of personal objectives will always end up being long because, on the whole, we seek to learn more about ourselves and the world. What about professional objectives? That question divides into two parts straight away - our current job and our career plan. The former aids the latter and vice versa. 

Maintaining focus

I put the question of resolutions/objectives out to Twitter. One reply was two parts proactive, one part hopeful - "keep my job". We can no more control the economy than we can whisper 'alohomora' and have doors magically unlock and open for us.  But we can keep our focus and do our very best at our jobs. How?  Perhaps attitude is the most important key to achieving this.  We control how we think and act.

There are countless articles and blogs talking about updating your LinkedIn profile, for example or how to get the most out of Twitter.  As with all forms of communication, it's always best to consider your objective before hitting the 'send' button. Politicians and footballers have fallen foul (no pun intended) of this.  Is Twitter the best medium for heavy political discussions?  I follow some people who would be advised to consider their content lest it be, shall we say, misconstrued. The right attitude to your career is vital as the wrong attitude can be very visible.

Looking for balance

My objective for 2012 (and beyond) is to have a good balance between work and life. For me this is about trying to keep anxiety levels to a minimum, about being content and healthy. It means having a lunch break and going for a walk outside, taking in some fresh air to clear the head and give me some energy for the afternoon.

I've read quite a lot about balance in the age of digital information overload. Is this something you're aiming to tackle this year? Recently Volkswagen announced that it will stop sending emails to staff on their Blackberrys once they are off-shift. How many other companies can honestly say they will do the same? Can you switch yours off after 8pm without fear of reprisal? How about reclaiming some of your own time by using your morning commute to read a book rather than firefighting the emails before you arrive at your desk.

Resolutions usually go out of the window as soon as February arrives. Take, for example, the resolution to not drink in January. The British Liver Trust this week said that this is pointless. Much better is to plan to abstain from drink for a few days a week, every week, all year. By sensibly building this in to your life, you will succeed.

With objectives, if we review them regularly, we can achieve them. Once every three months seems achievable to me. Go on, write it in your diary, set a reminder on your phone, make a calendar entry in Outlook. Let's get back together in April to see how we're progressing.

Suzanne Wheatley is a Recruitment Manager at Sue Hill Recruitment.  She has worked in Information Management recruitment for ten years.  You can follow her on Twitter @suzyredrec

Photo courtesy of Mark Ramsay via Flickr.