In a couple of weeks, people will be lamenting about their broken New Year’s resolutions. Their friends who don’t make resolutions will go into I-told-you-so mode, saying that’s why they never make resolutions, that they’re too hard to keep.
So, my question is why are they too hard to keep? I think it’s because of goal mentality. It’s a new year, so it has to be a new you, right? As a result, some people make resolutions that are so challenging they’re almost setting themselves up for failure.
If it’s a personal resolution, it’s often no skin off your nose – at least in the short run. So, you didn’t read a book a week. You didn’t save more money. You didn’t lose 25 pounds. Try again next year. However, if you’ve set some goals for your business, there can be a real negative impact if you don’t keep them. For example, say you resolve to get your financials in order and figure out your true costs. If you fail at this goal, at the end of the year you won’t have a clear idea how much money you actually made, or if you even turned a profit.
The answer is to ditch the New Year’s mentality. If you’re planning on changing how you do business—or how you live your life, for that matter—January 1 is an imaginary line. You can start working on meaningful change any and every day of the year. Here are some tips to get you on track.
You won’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where anything is. If you have a system that enables you to put your hands on anything and everything at any given time, you’ll not only experience incredible productivity gains, you’ll have the peace of mind to focus on your goals.
Don’t set unattainable goals. Making unrealistic resolutions will make you feel as if you’ve not only failed, but also wasted a great deal of time. If you’ve decided you really want 20-percent growth, for example, break it up into smaller chunks over shorter periods of time. Try achieving 5-percent growth over a quarter and see if it’s doable. If not, you can adjust your expectations. Otherwise, you may not realize 20 percent wasn’t the correct target until much of the year has gone by.
Why do we make resolutions yearly, anyway? Set monthly goals, at a minimum. Set smaller weekly and daily goals. If you have a large, overarching resolution you want to complete over a long period of time, set mental reminders (and record them on your calendar) to check your progress at regular intervals and measure it against the results you want. Oh, and what if you come up with a great resolution mid-year? Go ahead and commit to it then and there. There’s no need to wait.