A Solicitor’s Guide to Setting Achievable New Year’s Resolutions
As the calendar turns a new leaf, many of us find ourselves contemplating New Year’s Resolutions, a tradition as perennial as the law itself. Bombarded with messages such as “New Year, New Me”, the pressure is on everyone to start the year with a new attitude. These resolutions, often brimming with ambition and aspiration, reflect a desire for personal and professional betterment. However, the journey from resolution to reality is fraught with challenges and as the month progresses, it becomes more tempting to leave those intentions fall by the wayside. In fact, according to some statistics only 9% of people who make resolutions actually keep them, while 43% have given up by the end of January.
Solicitors in particular are balancing a heavy workload with meeting the demands of challenging clients. A well-deserved Christmas break gives legal professionals some time to recharge the batteries and return to the office with a determination to achieve a better work-life balance and manage their workload more effectively. But how can a busy solicitor make changes that they can stick to for the whole year, and not just for the month of January? Read on to find out.
Our guide aims to provide solicitors with practical strategies to setting achievable New Year’s resolutions, ensuring they are not just fleeting intentions but catalysts for meaningful change.
Understanding the Essence of New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions are more than just annual whims; they are a reflection of our deepest aspirations. For stressed out solicitors, these often revolve around enhancing professional expertise, achieving a healthier work-life balance, or contributing more significantly to the legal community. The key lies in transforming these aspirations into tangible goals.
Some examples of New Year’s Resolutions for Solicitors
Before delving into the strategies, let’s consider some examples of New Year’s resolutions that might resonate with solicitors:
- Develop Legal Skills: Focus on enhancing knowledge in a specific legal area or broadening expertise. This could mean attending more CPD sessions or setting aside time each week for legal research.
- Strengthen Client Relationships: Work on improving communication with clients, perhaps by setting up regular check-ins or feedback sessions.
- Balance Work and Life: Aim for a more balanced lifestyle, such as by dedicating specific evenings to family or hobbies.
- Network More: Get involved in legal communities, attend industry events, or participate in online legal discussions.
- Use Technology Effectively: Stay updated with legal technology trends to improve efficiency in practice.
These goals are not only achievable but also beneficial for a solicitor’s professional growth and personal satisfaction. Given that stress is a huge factor in the legal profession, it comes as no surprise that ‘reducing stress’ is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, 18% of people start the year with a goal to have less stress in their lives.
Bearing all this in mind, let’s now look at some helpful tips to assist in setting New Year’s resolutions that will stand the test of time.
Tips on Setting Achievable New Year’s Resolutions
Setting realistic goals
The key to successful resolutions is setting goals that are realistic and manageable. Solicitors know all too well the demanding nature of the legal profession so it’s important to acknowledge this fact before making changes. Goals should be ambitious yet achievable, challenging yet not overwhelming.
For instance, instead of vowing to ‘work less’, consider ‘allocating one evening per week to family or leisure activities’. Being more specific makes the goal more tangible and achievable.
Breaking down the goals
Once the goals are set, breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks is essential. This approach not only makes the goals less daunting but also provides a clear roadmap for achievement.
For example, if a solicitor aims to enhance their expertise in a particular legal area, they might start by dedicating an hour each week to reading relevant case law or attending specific CPD webinars. This also helps solicitors to stay on track within the current annual CPD cycle instead of leaving it until the end of the year to cram in all the required sessions.
Embracing Technology and Community
In today’s digital world, technology can be a great ally in achieving your goals. Using time-management tools or participating in online legal communities can provide the necessary support and resources. A key element is keeping on top of the workload and managing your time effectively. In another blog post, we shared some important strategies for solicitors to work more productively, leaving more time to spend on personal and professional development. You can read that article here.
The Power of Community
Being part of a community can greatly aid in reaching your New Year’s resolutions. Even sharing your goals with your colleagues can provide you with the necessary support and motivation to keep them going. And it’s a two-way street – your colleagues may also need some words of encouragement to achieve their own goals.
All solicitors understand the daily struggles of being in the legal profession and it can certainly be a lonely vocation. Engaging with likeminded solicitors through forums or groups, such as the Solicitors’ Growth Network Forum, can offer motivation, advice, and a sense of camaraderie. Sharing goals and progress with peers creates a network where accountability and encouragement is always on hand.
The path to fulfilling New Year’s resolutions is often hindered by obstacles, both expected and unforeseen. For solicitors, these may include unpredictable workloads or challenging cases. Anticipating these challenges and having a contingency plan in place is crucial. The key to overcoming these hurdles is to be flexible in your approach and be willing to adjust goals as needed.
Learning from Difficulties
Setbacks are an inevitable part of any journey. However, instead of viewing them as failures, solicitors should see them as opportunities for learning and growth. Reflecting on what caused the setback and how to avoid similar situations in the future is a constructive way to move forward. As the saying goes, “The comeback is always stronger than the setback” so bear this in mind and be kind to yourself.
Recognising and celebrating progress is as important as setting goals. Acknowledging milestones, no matter how small, boosts your morale and keeps you motivated. Whether it’s completing a challenging case or successfully integrating a new habit, every achievement is a step closer to your larger goal.
The Journey Continues
Finally, it’s important to remember that the pursuit of New Year’s resolutions is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. The legal profession is ever-evolving, and so are the goals and aspirations of solicitors. Regularly revisiting and revising resolutions ensures they remain relevant and aligned with your own personal and professional growth.
The Road to Setting Achievable New Year’s Resolutions for Solicitors Starts Here
So, what’s the takeaway from all of this? Essentially, the key to setting and achieving New Year’s resolutions is combination of different strategies. For busy solicitors with a heavy and often unpredictable workload, realistic goal setting requires a blend of planning, community support and most importantly, resilience.
By following this practical approach, solicitors can turn their resolutions into realities. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination, and each step taken is a stride towards personal and professional fulfilment.
As mentioned, the Solicitors Growth Network have an exclusive Members Only Forum. In this secure and supportive space, you’ll find a forum for you to pose questions, share feedback and connect with your fellow members. You’ll also have access to all of our webinars on replay to view at your own convenience, with your CPD cert landing straight into your inbox. And you’ll be the first to hear updates and the latest developments from Solicitors’ Growth Network HQ. If you’d like to know more about becoming a member of this community, all the information you need is here.
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As the calendar turns a new leaf, many of us find ourselves contemplating New Year’s