Back New Year’s Resolutions with Goals 

According to a recent University of Scranton study, 45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% keep them. Why? If you get to the heart of the issue, many people fail because they’re just not dedicated to taking those resolutions seriously. A resolution, which is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something,” demands self-discipline and dedication.

To succeed with your resolutions this year, make that firm decision to commit. Then, give your commitment structure by writing down your resolutions, creating short- and long-term goals to complete them, and building an action plan. Give yourself greater direction and accountability, and you’ll have a better chance of being in that successful 8%. Here are a few tips:

Focus on your Vital Factors.
We all have areas in life (and at work) that could use a little help. But when it comes to choosing New Year’s resolutions, you’ll be more effective if you keep the list short, picking just a few to focus your attention on — your personal “Vital Factors.” For example, you might make a resolution to improve some aspect of your health; a second resolution tied to a key work or career challenge; and a third, relating to bettering relationships with family or friends. Focusing on this small, yet very important list, will feel more manageable and won’t drain your motivation by making you feel overwhelmed.

Set measurable goals, and track even incremental progress.
At MAP, we always coach our clients around the need for a system of accountability in order to reach achievable goals. The same thinking goes for your New Year’s resolutions. First, you must clearly define a goal, making it specific, measurable, and trackable on a day-to-day or week-to-week schedule. Build a plan around this goal, setting up activities that support it. Establish regular check-ins throughout the year, and build in consistent feedback, transparency, and personal accountability. For example, if you’ve decided to delegate more to staff this year, some of your activities might involve building a plan of action, putting the plan in place, providing training and support to staff, creating an incentive program for success, getting bi-weekly feedback on the process, and so forth.

Manage expected challenges.
Resolutions are all about change. Remember that change is rarely easy, and usually comes with some form of roadblock or resistance. The true difference between success and failure is how many times you get back up and try again. If you didn’t hit a particular New Year’s resolution goal, try not to obsess or stress over it. Instead, get out of your own way! Take stock of what happened, then develop corrective action and get busy implementing it so you can do better. Like me, you might be surprised to find how the sheer act of thinking about how to do better can inspire and empower you to try harder and, this time, make it happen for real.

How can you support your New Year’s resolutions?

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Map's Newest Book: The Disciplined Leader

What do the best leaders have in common? The answer is one word: Discipline. A disciplined leader is one who identifies and focuses on the Vital Few: the 20% of activities that will drive 80% of the results. Learn More

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