The tradition of making promises at the start of each year can be found in many different cultures and religions. There’s nothing wrong with some reflection, self-improvement, planning and goal setting, at any time. Don’t wait for New Year’s Resolutions to start building your freelancing success in 2022.
Why wait until an arbitrary date to make changes? Various studies have made claims about the relative success of resolutions, but what really seems to work is forming better habits. And finding ways to automate these changes, and make them as effortless as possible. It’s a lot easier to avoid eating junk food when there’s none in the house, rather than fighting the temptation to visit a cupboard full of snacks.
Speaking of food, we might associate Christmas with gluttony in front of the TV. However, it’s actually a great time to make some changes. Clients and customers tend to go quiet for a few days over the festive season, giving you a short rest from emails, meetings and fulfilling orders. And while every freelancer needs to take regular time off from their work, a focused day improving your processes and systems could save you weeks of stress over the next 12 months.
It’s tempting to create a long shopping list of changes you want to achieve next year. But you’ll get better results by picking just one or two priorities, rather than trying to do everything at once. You can build on one successful improvement, rather than getting depressed that you haven’t reinvented every aspect of your life by the second week of January.
Christmas is also a good time for reconnecting with friends and family. So, if encouragement and accountability will help you with sticking to new working routines, then it’s a good time to get some support on board. Or to start finding a coach or mentor if you’re self-employed.
But there’s another good reason not to plan a long list of detailed resolutions for the next 12 months, and that’s the experience of the last two years. Even without Covid-19 or Brexit, the pace of technology and change continues to speed up. Just look at the rise of NFTs, artificial intelligence, remote tools and the metaverse to name just a few of the work trends which rose to new prominence in 2021.
Freelancers working in technology might be used to the fast rate of progress, but the pandemic and lockdowns shared that experience with a much wider group of people. Leading to discussion of the ‘great resignation’ and ‘the great reassessment’ as so many individuals are reconsidering their careers, lifestyle and future.
So, if we don’t know what the next 3, 6 or 12 months might bring, it’s pointless relying on New Year’s Resolutions. Especially if you’re focusing on tactical details rather than your overall strategy. But building good core habits will help you cope and adapt to change, and enable you to find freelance success whatever 2022 brings.