“Happy New Year.” It is a well-used – and well-worn – greeting as December ends and January begins.
The language of this greeting is telling – it indicates hope and optimism for a better life and a better world.
A recent University of Scranton (PA) study found that 45% of Americans to craft New Year’s resolutions. Admittedly, 38% of Americans never make New Year’s resolutions – and only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions.
The same study makes a vital point, though: people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions.
So, making resolutions is a proven means to help us grow, serve, and contribute – at home, at work, and in our communities – better. IF we deliver on those resolutions, that is!
As you consider your resolutions for 2015, I’ve got one suggestion for us all (including myself).
This single suggestion has a number of important applications – AND it will boost the percentage of people who are successful in achieving their goals and resolutions. The suggestion?
Setting goals or resolutions is one thing. Delivering on those promises is clearly a different requirement. Which is more important and impactful – setting goals or delivering on them? Which builds trust and credibility?
Just as with culture refinement, delivering on resolutions requires three steps – define, align, and refine.
Being intentional about what (your goals and resolutions) defines the target; that is about ten percent of the whole process. Being intentional about how – aligning and refining behaviors and interactions so you attain your goals and resolutions – is where the real work happens! This is where ninety percent of your effort is required.
Intention begins with defining the goals and resolutions you desire. You need to ask yourself not only what refinements you wish to make – being nicer, exercising more, eating healthier foods, keeping your commitments, whatever – but also what investment of time, energy, and focus you’re willing to make to ensure you exceed those targets.
As you craft each resolution, note down the specific behaviors required to ensure you will align to your promises. How will you measure progress? How will you remind yourself daily about your targets and required behaviors? How will you celebrate goal traction along the way?
Here are some practices that have worked for me.
- Share your resolutions with family, friends, and co-workers. By “socializing” your desired changes, you involve others that can give you feedback, encouragement, and re-direction to keep you on track.
- Monitor your day-to-day behaviors. Use tools that keep tabs of key metrics and review those metrics daily. For example, I use a fabulous to-do app, Nozbe, to set reminders and tasks related to my commitments and the behaviors I have specified. I also use a Fitbit fitness tracker and dashboard to ensure I’m eating right, exercising right, and sleeping well. These tools were not the first ones I tried but they are the ones that have served me well for two years running. Experiment until you find tools that work for you.
- Measure progress. By tracking your progress towards goals and resolutions, you will know if you are getting better, staying the same, or regressing on key metrics and behaviors. Reviewing your progress enables you to refine your behaviors, systems, feedback, etc. so you can stay on track with your promises.
What practices have helped you keep on track with goals, resolutions, and promises? Share your comments, suggestions, and insights in the comments section below.
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