CEO Article: Making and Keeping Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s because a majority of people make their resolutions only once a year, most starting on January 1st, with a failure rate of over 70%. Does that mean a person should never make a resolution? Absolutely not. I think psychologically January 1st marks a new beginning and why most people make them around that time.  I personally believe resolutions  should be considered  at any time during the course of the year, when you feel change needs to be made either personally or in your business  ‘Resolution’ can be defined as a course of action decided on and pursued with firm determination. The course of action, if followed with determination will lead to ‘resolution’ of a conflict or problem. Who hasn’t in the course of a lifetime felt the need to resolve a little weight gain, quit smoking, or simply to get in better shape? In business, the need to grow, be more profitable, recruit better employees, etc.?

Rather than focus on why people do not keep their resolutions a majority of the time, I prefer to focus on the process that will increase the likelihood your resolutions are kept so that you will improve your odds of achieving your personal or corporate goals for the coming year.

  1. Set One Resolution at a Time:  In addition to setting only one resolution at a time, be as specific as possible. Define the problem to be resolved and avoid being vague. We all tend to give up on goals that are vague.  Then create a plan of attack. Write it down.  If it’s your business, limiting to one resolution or goal might be difficult. In this case, limit to the top 3 or 5 specific resolutions.
  2. Document Results:  Set specific time intervals that you document your progress or results based on the plan of attack you defined in Step 1. Seeing incremental improvement or small successes along the way will help you stick to your goals. Record your progress in a log on a smartphone app or in a journal.
  3. Be Accountable to Someone:  Your plan of attack should include reporting periodically on your progress results to a friend or family member. People are less likely to slide on their goals if they fear reporting bad or no results or achievement. If it’s a business goal, this could be reporting to your boss, committee, or even the board of directors.
  4. Have Money at Risk:  Define in your plan of attack what will happen financially if you don’t achieve your goals. If it’s a personal goal, pledge money to charity or define the personal cost if you fail to meet your resolution. If it’s a business related resolution or goal, state what it will cost your company or you personally if your goals are not met.
  5. Make it a Habit:  If you follow the steps outlined you will form new behaviors that will become part of your routine thereby increasing the likelihood that you will stick to your resolution over the long haul. Typically after 2 to 3 months it will be routine and you will less likely to be tempted to stop or quit.

Now if only I could follow my own advice and lose those extra pounds gained over the holiday! It’s always much easier to preach than to practice but I can attest it does work and has worked in both my personal life and in business. If you are feeling the need to make a change in the upcoming year, find that one thing that is most important for you to focus and go for it!!

Thank you for being part of our company and best wishes for a profitable 2014. May all your resolutions be met!

Duane Lankard

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