A New Year’s Resolution Just Won’t Do It

A New Year’s Resolution Just Won’t Do It

January 6, 2015

It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. Conversations turn to this year’s commitments: I’ll go to the gym every day, climb the mountain, or quit smoking.  In the workplace, we hear just as many big promises: We’ll solve our employee engagement problem, win the award, beat the competition.

Too many of us make a bold resolution that is not sustainable. In doing so, we set ourselves up to succeed or fail, not to move closer to our goals.  When we cast our resolutions as “all or nothing,” we often end up with nothing. After initial steps are taken, the goal is abandoned as too difficult or time consuming to achieve and we lose the opportunity to improve.

In the workplace, as at home, real change and improvement are brought about through steady, thoughtful effort. And this requires frequent assessment and recalibration.

For example, instead of resolving to go from couch potato to body builder this year, make a daily commitment to shorter term, achievable goals – I’ll go to the gym once more each week this month – and establish frequent and meaningful measures to stay on track.

As business leaders, it is essential that we make the time on a daily or weekly basis to escape the tactical clutter of the to-do list. We must allow the opportunity to gain perspective on what is really happening around us, with our colleagues, our clients, and our marketplace. We can then re-examine our direction and our progress, with an eye on our values and our vision. Most importantly, we have to be willing to act based on the realities we uncover, if we are to gain ground. The actions we take must be wholly consistent with our principles, on a day-to-day basis, or we risk charging off course.

Rather than make a grand New Year’s Resolution this year, consider committing to making everyday, incremental choices that move you steadily towards the things that are important to you, to your workplace, or to your family. Only then can you be assured of achieving what really matters to you.