Powerful Resolutions for The New Year and Beyond

​Have you wondered why New Year’s resolutions fail and what you can do about it as you get prepared for the new year?

Before I delve into the “heart” of this article, let’s have some fun by looking at a list of Top 10 Business and Personal resolutions. Go ahead and circle those that you are considering for this year:

Popular Business Resolutions (in no particular order)

1. Increase sales/revenues
2. Reduce expenses/costs
3. Improve profitability
4. Improve quality of services/products
5. Increase customer loyalty and repeat business
6. Build win-win partnerships with key suppliers and stakeholders
7. Reduce debt
8. Build a strong productive team
9. Develop an actionable strategic business plan
10. Create a healthy work-life balanced company culture

Popular Personal Resolutions (in no particular order)

1. Spend more time with family and friends
2. Become physically fit
3. Lose weight
4. Quit smoking
5. Enjoy life more
6. Quit or reduce consumption of alcohol
7. Get out of debt and save more
8. Learn something new
9. Help others (works of charity)
10. Get organized

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Based on my personal experience, working with clients, and research, I offer you some typical reasons why New Year’s resolutions often are unattained:

1. The focus is on failure when you do not adhere to your plan/expectations resulting in you giving up on your resolution. For example, my goal was to exercise at least 3 times per week and for the last 2 weeks I have only exercised 3 times in total. Therefore, since I’ve already “failed” why should I continue when I’ve proven to myself and others that I cannot stick to my resolution – what’s the use?

2. The resolution is set too high (unrealistic) which sets you up to fail (see #1).

3. Last minute resolutions tend not to have a large enough “why” or purpose that they are connected to and therefore you lack motivation to achieve them.

4. Too many resolutions at one time which can dilute your focus and energy.

5. The resolution was given to you by someone else which can lead to a lack of ownership. It becomes a “should” vs. a “want” or a “get to”. Your primary motivation is to please someone else.

6. Looking outside of yourself as to why you are not achieving your resolutions vs. first looking within yourself. Most of the time what you tell yourself, your beliefs, attitudes and the choices you make get in the way of accomplishing your resolution – not other people or life’s circumstances.

Did you know that:

• 80% of New Year’s resolutions are given up on by January 31st ?
• 90% of resolutions dealing with health & fitness are dismissed by January 15th ?
• < 5% of resolutions are still intact by the end of the year?

What You Can Do About It

Below are some specific recommendations that you can employ to make this year’s resolutions a reality for you and your business.

1. Turn your resolutions into written, specific and measurable goals with well thought out action plans.

2. State your resolutions/goals using positive language so as to better motivate you and others. For example, improve gross profit margin to 40% vs. cutting cost of goods sold by 10%. By wording the goal in this positive way, you allow yourself more possibilities for achieving it vs. just cutting costs. Another example may be attaining a 34 inch waist vs. losing 20 lbs. Once again, there are more actions you can take to achieve a smaller waist than just dieting.

3. Set realistic expectations. If your resolution or goal is ambitious, establish smaller milestones along the way and celebrate your progress toward your goal. Focus on what you or your team is doing right vs. getting discouraged by what has not been achieved. Success breeds success!

4. Have a meaningful “why” or purpose that your resolution can be aligned with. Include the consequences or cost that you and others will experience if you do not achieve your resolution and the rewards or payoffs that will be enjoyed when you achieve your resolution. For example, the purpose for improving the gross margin to 40% is to increase retained earnings that can be used in part to move into newer facilities that our employees and stakeholders can be proud of and which will allow us to grow our business.

5. Establish resolutions/goals that reflect a balance between your professional and personal life including a few that are fun and enjoyable. Achieving ambitious goals requires expenditure of energy and replenishing that energy by doing things you enjoy sets you up to “win” in life.

6. Include an accountability partner/coach to support you in your efforts. Having a person that you trust and respect and that sincerely cares about you achieving your resolutions/goals is critical when you face obstacles along the way.

So there you have it, a prescription for making powerful resolutions that endure throughout the year and generate the results you and others desire. Dave, Susan and I would be glad to support you in turning your resolutions into reality.