Most people love the idea of a fresh start, and every time the calendar flips from one year to the next, we’re given the chance to look back and find opportunities for improvement. A New Year’s Resolution can be a powerful tool: you’ve made an earnest commitment to perform better on something that you care about. But New Year’s Resolutions are often easier said that done. CNN reports, “40% of Americans set resolutions around January 1, [but only] about 40% to 44% of them will be successful at six months.” So the question becomes, how do I actually accomplish my 2020 New Year’s Resolutions?
Even if your resolution has nothing to do with your business on the surface (let’s say you want to focus on weight or changing a behavior), the skills required to bring your resolution to fruition actually have everything to do with effective leadership.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can make your New Year’s resolution work for your business.
Making a New Year’s Resolution Work
Make a New Year’s Resolution work for your personal or business life requires two things: a clear, measurable, and achievable goal, and the belief that you can do it. Don’t believe us? That same CNN article goes on to explain, “if you believe in yourself, you are 10 times more likely to change via a New Year’s resolution.” But first, let’s start with what makes an effective goal.
The Anatomy of a Resolution
We know that unless you take your resolution seriously, not much will happen. What does that mean? Consistency. Self-discipline. Practicing your new behavior or activity even when the novelty wears off. Whatever your resolution happens to be, it requires a lot from you – you are actively choosing to change. You signed up for it. To make the action steps easier, each individual resolution should have 3 main components: Clear, Measurable, and Achievable. There are many other ways to describe goal setting, but we’ve found these points get at the root of a clear goal in the easiest and most direct way possible. Let’s look at each aspect of an effective goal in more detail.
Clear Goals – When explaining your goal to someone else, make it clear enough that they can understand what you want to do in a few sentences or less.
Measurable Goals – If you can determine how well you are doing on a goal and you know when you’ve reached that goal, that makes it measurable. It doesn’t have to be quantitative or complex but it does have to be measurable so you know when you’re done and you can move on to your next goal.
Achievable Goals – Achievable goals are simply ones that are bound within the laws of physics. For example, it is technically possible to walk on the surface of the moon, making it achievable (although very challenging to accomplish for most people). Walking on the surface of the sun is not even possible (as far as we know), making it not-achievable.
Realistic goals are also important, but they refer more to the action steps needed to achieve a goal versus the actual goal itself. When it comes to setting goals that are realistic, the question to ask yourself is, “Am I willing to take the steps I need to take to achieve my goal?” If the answer is yes, and that goal is clear, measurable, and achievable, then you have every right to go after that goal. Watch How Do I Set Goals? to learn more about goal-setting and how to frame a clear, measurable, and achievable goal for success
But what does setting clear, measurable, and achievable resolutions have to do with leadership? Let’s talk about it.
Have you ever seen a “leader” skip over the fundamentals? Have you seen a leader show up woefully unprepared? Of course, you have! No one is perfect. But the best leaders, the most effective leaders, lead by example. They do what they preach. They make clear, measurable, and achievable goals, they understand the benefits of putting in the time and accomplishing clearly defined goals – whether they are business-related or not.
Building Your Leadership Through Habit-Building
Consistency is key for many aspects of life: marketing, book-writing, New Year’s Resolutions. You can’t make your New Year’s resolution work if you don’t get consistent at developing your new set of habits. Practicing consistency is key to any person who’s successfully kept up a resolution – whether it’s something as simple as doing 100 crunches a day or as big as paying down debt. You can’t swallow an elephant whole, you can only do it one bite at a time.
Here are a few more ways that you can make your resolution work for your business.
Business New Year’s Resolution Tips
Hold yourself accountable. No matter what your resolution happens to be, you know that if you don’t do it, it’s not going to happen. Holding yourself accountable (another key aspect of leadership presence) is important both in your personal and professional life. There’s no bigger battle than wanting to sleep-in rather than do those 100 crunches at 6 in the morning. But the more you do it, the easier it gets to do again. On a tough workday, you can reflect on your winning battle that morning with your crunches – you have proof that you can, which helps you conquer self-doubt and makes you a much more confident leader in the face adversity.
Be determined, yet flexible. If your resolution is to do 100 crunches a day, there are going to be days when you’ll have to stay flexible within that goal. You might have to get your crunches done at a different time or in a different place if something comes up (and it will because that’s how life goes). In business, the variables are a thousand-fold and staying nimble while focused takes skill – but it is possible.
Focus on sustainable success. Quick wins in business or your personal life are great, but they may not lead to long-term stability. For that, you need to think big picture. Sustainable success takes time to develop – it’s a lot like building a solid foundation as opposed to picking out paint colors before the house even goes up. Resolutions are the same, because habit-building takes time. Celebrate short-term success but always keep your head focused on the big picture. Your business will benefit and you will see how easy it can be to move the mountains you thought were impossible at one point.
A great tip for making your New Year’s resolution work for your business is to identify the connection between the two. We’ve mentioned consistency, flexibility and holding yourself accountable. Linking your new habit to leadership fundamentals puts the focus on what you can do, versus what you cannot. The fresh-start energy of every new year is empowering – harness that momentum! The anatomy of a resolution has the same structure as effective leadership.
Take a moment to look closely at your New Year’s resolution and see the connection between habit-building, change, and your business. It just might make you want to do those crunches, after all.
If you’re looking for leadership guidance, you can find it at Evil Genius Leadership Consultants. We’ll learn about the particular leadership challenges you face on your team and develop solutions to turn them into positive outcomes. We develop your professional skills to become a great communicator and influencer at your workplace and beyond. You can learn more about our coaching packages here.