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Psychology’s Tips for Business Success in 2020

It’s been a crazy start to 2020. The bushfires blasting through eastern Victoria, southern NSW, Kangaroo Island and South Australia have sidelined new year goal setting for most of us. Who can focus on the future when the needs of the present are so all-consuming?

As the days pass and we return to work and routine it’s natural for our minds to return to goals and projects for the coming year. We know that New Year’s Resolutions fail They’re not the path to success if you’ve got big plans for 2020 for business or personal transformation. So what does work? What does the science say?

Here are 5 steps for business success in 2020, according to the psychological research.

1. Audit Your Successes in 2019

Your first step to prepare for a successful 2020 is to look back at what you achieved in 2019. Why? Because our ability to think broadly, creatively and enthusiastically about the future is enhanced when we're in a positive frame of mind. In psychology this is called 'The Broaden and Build Effect'.

What better way to find inspiration for the future than to reflect on your successes? Take a few minutes to makes notes on your big wins in 2020.

2. Get Clear on Your Personal Projects

In psychology a Personal Project is any meaningful goal, big or small, that you're seeking to achieve over a day, week, year or your lifetime. Some projects are focused on achievement ('Release our new product’') and others on process ('Enhance efficiency'). They’re called personal projects but they’re critical to your business success because we succeed (and thrive) when we’re working on projects that are personally meaningful. Ask yourself, ‘What am I seeking to achieve in my business in 2020 that is personally meaningful to me?’

3. Tap into deep motivation

One of the reasons New Year's Resolutions fail is that they tend to be things we feel we 'should' do, like ‘start work earlier’ or ‘delegate more’ or ‘boost my productivity.’ They're often vague, uninspiring and they almost always sap our energy and motivation over time (if we even start). 

Personal Projects are different because they are projects you want to work on. They're what we call 'approach' goals because they pull you forward into a positive future. They give you energy, motivate and inspire you and add to your life satisfaction and well being as well as your business success. Forget the 'I should' goals and focus on the projects and goals that excite and inspire you. Achievement in one domain will lead to success and satisfaction in others. 

4. Plan for success. 

Big or small, a project is better with a plan.  Once you know what you’re going to work on in 2020, draw a mind map, make a list, think it through.  What do you need to do to complete your project? Generate a list of tasks and a timeline. Write it down!

5. Be kind to yourself. 

Don't beat yourself up if you don't make the progress

that you set out to achieve or success doesn’t come as quickly as you’d like. Life happens. Things get in the way. We get distracted. Our priorities change.

Forgiving yourself for 'failure' isn't letting yourself off the hook. It's acknowledging that you're human and not everything works out the way we'd like it to. Research shows that when we are compassionate towards ourselves we're more likely to set new goals after failure rather than wallowing in feelings of frustration and disappointment. Self kindness (known in psychology as ‘self-compassion’) is the path to intrinsic motivation because it helps us reframe failure as a chance to learn and grow, rather than a failure to impress ourselves or others.

Let’s all succeed in 2020.

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