New Year’s Resolutions that Make a Difference

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people fail to keep their resolutions?  In fact one of my staff started an Open University course on 5th January which had as the opening sentence of its first module: “It’s January.  The holiday is over, and you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions.”


The reality is most people do not treat resolutions seriously.  How about you?  Have you broken your resolutions yet?


One reason most people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is simply because they are not totally committed to them.  Another reason is that resolutions often tend to be expressed as wishes and dreams rather than more specific goals.  Don’t let that happen with your 2015 goals!


Have you set yourself goals for your practice that are challenging enough to make a real difference?  Goals that mean business will be so much better this year than last year?  And goals for your personal life that, again, will make a real difference to your life and to the lives of your loved ones?  Goals that will excite you and to which you can really be committed?


You should consider these as your true New Year’s resolutions, but resolutions you will really keep rather than allowing them to disappear at the first hurdle.


Be Specific


A key element of goal setting is to be specific.  It is no good, for example, simply saying “I want to earn more money in 2015”.  How much more?  For example, if your personal production last year was £120,000, then a turnover in 2015 of £120,001 would fit that goal, but a target like that would certainly not be exciting or make any difference to your life or your business.  But if, in this example, you formulated your goal for 2015 as £150,000, then this is something you would probably accept as a challenging, achievable, and exciting goal.  If you can achieve that 25% increase this year, and then repeat this for each of the following two years, do you realize you will have more or less doubled your turnover in a three year period?  This is a goal that is exciting enough, that makes a real difference, but also with the right discipline and the right tools really is achievable.


As another example, maybe you would like to spend more time with your family.  If you say “I want to spend more time with my family in 2015” this really is too unspecific!  What do you mean by this?  How much time?  Let’s say last year you took 5 weeks holiday.  Then perhaps your goal for this year should be to take 6 weeks holiday.  That one extra week could make all the difference to both you and your family, but is not at all an unrealistic target.


Chunk Down


Having decided on a few key goals for 2015, you should now break each goal down into manageable segments.


Taking the above production increase as an example, going from £120,000 to £150,000 might seem quite a daunting challenge.  If you view it that way you are unlikely to achieve it.  You will give up even before you start.


But if, for example, you break it down into quarterly or even monthly targets, that will seem so much easier.  An extra £7,500 on last year’s total of £120,000.  Depending on the way you do business, that might be three additional sales.  One extra sale a month.  How difficult could that be?  Especially if you also set a goal of learning some new ways to make your marketing more effective.


Keep Going


Many people give up the moment they fail to hit their target.  Just one failure and they think that means the target is unachievable.  If you have this attitude you are more or less doomed to fail.


The right way to proceed is to accept that you will probably not always hit your target, but to keep going anyway.


Going back to our example of one additional sale a month, if you don’t hit it this month, then simply realize that if you can gain two additional sales next month you are right back on target.  Even if you only hit one extra sale next month you are still on target for the month and therefore still have every chance of catching up with your cumulative target.


So don’t let the inevitable failures take your focus off the end goal.  Accept them and move on, knowing you will ultimately reach that goal.


A Goal or a System?


So far I have talked about setting goals for 2015.  This is certainly a better way of creating improvements than making traditional New Year’s resolutions.


But even a goal can be a bad idea if you don’t approach it in the right way.  One problem with a goal is that once you have reached it you are there and there is nothing more to do.  You hit your goal and then there is almost an anti-climax.


Far better is to have a system rather than just a number of goals.  With a system constantly moving your practice forward, increasing your income, increasing your “me” time or time with your family, you are all set for a great 2015 and even better years following this.