Happy New Year!  I love a fresh start where I review what went well in the past year and what could be better going forward. 

Have you set any 2017 resolutions for yourself or your organization? I know, I know, it’s easy to become jaded about setting resolutions because many of them fail.  Why do you think that is? I’ve given it a lot of thought and have put together four reasons why resolutions fail, and how to prevent it from happening to you in 2017.

The resolution is unclear.  Many people have resolutions of things like: sell more, lose weight, eat healthy, and be more successful at work, but those resolutions are too broad.  For you to achieve your goal, you must first know what success will look like.  I know that seems obvious, but I have fallen into that trap before, like many others. A resolution must have a clear picture of what you would like to accomplish. Sell $100,000 more by the end of the quarter or year, lose 15 pounds this year, acquire better leadership skills, etc.

The resolution lacks a clear path to achievement. People often set resolutions without laying out a path of how they intend to achieve them, which is like going on a road trip without turning on your GPS or consulting a map.  When you set a resolution, ask yourself, “What are the steps I need to take to achieve my goal?” 

If you know that you want to sell more, how many more networking events will you attend, how many more sales calls will you make, what kind of marketing efforts will you try?  If you want to become a better leader, which courses will you take, which books will you read, how will you put your newly learned skills into practice to make them stick?

The steps are unrealistic. While we’re discussing the steps needed to achieve the goal, determine if the steps are realistic for you now?  Often, if a person does understand the need to change their current routine, they attempt overly-ambitious steps to get there.  If they want to lose fifteen pounds, but are currently sedentary, they’ll announce that they’re joining a gym and waking up at 4am every day to hit the weight room. And sure, they can. Many people do.  But that’s a pretty tall order for a lot of us.  Does the idea of waking up to work out super early fill you with joy or with dread?  Chances are, if it’s not joy, it’s not going to be something you can sustain long enough to form a lasting habit. Shawn Achor talks about habit forming in his book, The Happiness Advantage. He writes that the path to your desired outcome needs to be within 20 seconds’ reach.  One change he made for working out specifically was sleeping in his clean gym clothes the night before getting up to exercise.  He’d wake up and only need to slip on his shoes to be on his way to creating the desired habit.  So be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do to achieve your goals and determine the path with the fewest barriers to make those resolutions last.

The resolution is not given enough priority. This is the final and, possibly, the most significant reason that a resolution fails: when we simply don’t want it badly enough. This sounds harsh but, with few exceptions, the adage is true: where there’s a will there’s a way.  Do you want to sell season passes more than you fear cold calling?  Do you want to be a more approachable boss more than you don’t want to show vulnerability?  Do you want a healthier diet more than you want the easiest meal you can grab on the go?  You absolutely have it within your power to make more sales calls, learn to be a better listener, teammate, partner, exerciser or whatever else you wish to be.  The question is, how badly do you want to?

Have resolutions? Share them, and the steps you’re taking to succeed on our blog or social media. Here’s to a terrific 2017!


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