As 2018 comes to an end, I notice the uptick of the post-Christmas commercials, which focus on the activities that are normally associated with New Year resolutions. Whatever it may be, to exercise more, to improve diets, quit smoking, etc…, resolutions are usually doomed for failure. People want to improve, but often fail because of lack of planning and monitoring, and these goals invariably fall by the wayside.
The concept of “Plan-Do-Check-Act” is well ingrained in many processes in the manufacturing and service sectors. This methodology allows for a continuous improvement experience. For example, a team may evaluate a possible change (Plan), and then incorporate it into the existing process (Do). Once active, teams will monitor and track changes (Check), and can either add it as a permanent change or to remove it (Act). The process begins again, and with every iteration, improvements to ongoing processes will be continuous. Through numerous iterations, processes and procedures can achieve higher levels of refinement and quality.
Adopting a continuous improvement mindset for our personal lives will pay dividends over the years. We can, and should, always make big goals. But we also have to plan it out and track our progress. Whether it be professional development, or personal goals, this mindset will help.
For example, an individual would like to run a marathon by Labor Day. In the days after the gorge-fest of the holiday season, it may seem like a daunting goal. Going from nothing to a 26-mile race is a significant goal. For someone who often “wings it”, the changes for not attaining a goal are elevated. For someone who makes plans, acts on those, tracks and monitor progress, and constantly tweaks their training will often experience success.
Suppose someone wants to climb the hierarchy at their place of employment, continuously improvement through learning new skills and meeting needs of the organization will add value. When workers learn and grow, duties and responsibilities expand, thus creating more opportunities. High performers are that for a reason, not by change.
This approach will work well with so many parts of our lives, both at home, and at work. So as many make resolutions for the new year, and may shortly abandon them, take the time to plan and monitor your changes. If things are on schedule, focus on maintaining it. If you begin to see faltering or losses of momentum, minor changes can help to keep you on track.
Continuously improve in your life, and reap the rewards from your organized hard work. This year, be among the select group that made goals, and then kept them throughout the year and beyond. I wish everyone a prosperous and happy 2019 and beyond.